By: Ian Logue
Looking back at Thursday afternoon’s game between the Patriots and Lions, here’s a look at the Best and Worst from New England’s 45-24 win over Detroit.
THE BEST PERFORMERS FROM THURSDAY’S GAME
Jerod Mayo – Once again Mayo lead the team in tackles and seemed to be everywhere throughout the game, finishing with 12 combined tackles and also had a pass deflection.
Deion Branch – Did a great job on the 79-yard touchdown, shaking off his defender twice en-route to the endzone on what for now was the longest play of the year for the Patriots. It tied things up 24-24 with just over 5:00 left in the third quarter. He also later scored on a 22-yard strike to put them up for good at 31-24.
Tom Brady – Brady finished 21-of-27 for 341 yards and four touchdown passes on Sunday, along with 0 interceptions. That performance earned him a perfect QB rating of 158.3 – and his play under center was the primary reason they won the game.
Julian Edelman – Didn’t have a reception, but did a decent job returning punts, returning 3 punts for 47-yards including a 28-yard return early in the first quarter that helped give them good field position and lead to a field goal. Also had a block that helped Welker get into the endzone on his second touchdown.
Patrick Chung – Chung finished with five combined tackles along with a QB hit and two passes defensed, including one where he knocked away a potential touchdown at the end of the game.
Wes Welker – Made a big block at the end of the first half and helped push BenJarvus Green-Ellis into the endzone for a touchdown. That score at the time put New England within 4 at 14-10. Also made a touchdown reception where he battled with two defenders to get in, and it knotted the score at the time 17-17.
Devin McCourty – Made an outstanding interception in front of Calvin Johnson, outleaping him and taking it away. Also had another pick later on that he returned all the way down to the 10-yard line which set up their final touchdown to seal it, and also finished with four tackles. The two interceptions gave him 5 on the season, which ties him with Earl Thomas of Seattle for most among rookies.
Danny Woodhead – Was recently rewarded with a contract extension and played inspired Sunday, including a play where he ran hard and lost his helmet on the tackle. He finished with 8 carries for 32 yards, along with a couple of receptions.
BenJarvus Green-Ellis – Had a great day running the ball, and also had a big run at the end of the half for a touchdown run. He finished with 12-carries for 59-yards along with 2-touchdowns on the afternoon.
Rob Gronkowski – Made a couple of great catches on Sunday, both of which came with a defender right on him. His last one helped set up Welker’s second touchdown to put them up 38-24. He finished with five receptions for 65 yards on the day.
Zoltan Mesko – Mesko had a great game punting the football, with three kicks that averaged 51-yards, including one inside the 20-yard line. He’s done a good job overall this season with helping New England win the field position battle, and Thursday’s game was yet another example of why drafting him has turned out to be such a great decision.
THE WORST PERFORMERS FROM THURSDAY’S GAME
Kyle Arrington – Fell down on the touchdown reception by Calvin Johnson and was no match for the receiver. Also failed to prevent #12 (Williams) from picking up 7 on a 3rd and 8, and it later lead to a first down, and after that a touchdown for Detroit. Later allowed a big catch by Johnson which set up the Lions final touchdown. On the play he got completely spun around, and the Lions went on to score to put them up 24-17. The one bright spot for Arrington was a play where he came in hard from the left to attempt to block the 46-yard field goal attempt that was missed by the Lions. His presence likely helped cause the miss.
Brandon Tate – Had a miserable day returning the football on kickoffs, and didn’t fare much better offensively. He had a pass that went in and out of his hands early in the 2nd quarter on a deep throw from Brady, and finished without a reception. He did have an end around that he ran for a gain, but otherwise he continues to struggle trying to establish a role in the offense.
Gary Guyton – Probably one of the most frustrating players to watch on the defensive side of the ball. He generally makes one really good play, and then a series of ones where he’s out of position or late getting to where he’s supposed to be. Thursday was one of those games. He had a passed defensed, a sack, and a tackle for a loss, but the numbers don’t show each of the times where he missed an open field tackle and failed to make a play that he could have.
THE SCUFFLE: After reviewing the video, it appears that Avril (#92) went after Logan Mankins, and Matt Light stepped in and pinned him to the turf. The scuffle ensued, and Light backed out waving his arms – with Belichick coming out to also make sure it got broken up and no one did anything to get ejected, or potentially suspended for next week’s game.
GAME NOTES: Coming into Thursday’s game against the Lions, Tom Brady had never thrown a touchdown pass against Detroit. That streak came to an end, as he tossed four on the afternoon….. Brady also set a franchise record extending his current streak of passes without an interception to 199…Fred Taylor was active on Thursday for the first time in eight games, but didn’t play…After the game head coach Bill Belichick gave the players four days off, they’re not required to be back at the facility until Tuesday. It’s the first time they’ve had a break like that since July…. Deion Branch’s final touchdown reception was also Brady’s 247th career touchdown pass, which tied him with Boomer Esiason for 14th all time.
Have a player who do you feel should/shouldn’t have been included on this list, or maybe another player we didn’t list? Be sure to post it in the comment section below.