A bit of a late start this morning after last night’s late finish, but here are today’s top stories:

Shalise Manza Young of the Boston Globe recaps the ‘sorry’ exhibition after last night’s loss to the Lions.

Ian Rapoport also has his look back last night, and writes that Tom Brady had said he wanted to get knocked around a bit prior to the game, and that the Lions obliged.

I transcribed Brady’s press conference last night, and you can read everything he had to say via this link.

You can also read what Bill Belichick had to say last night, although he said very little.

Bob George writes that the Patriots just didn’t show up last night, and that Belichick ‘fell on the sword’ during his postgame press conference.

Kevin Rousseau had a great column this morning about the fact the expectations have taken a lot of the fun out of things here in New England.

Rapoport also has his notebook, which leads off with the injury to Wes Welker, who injured his neck making a tackle on an interception by Brady in the closing minutes of the second quarter.  He also points out that Jonathan Wilhite was among another player hurt last night.

Mike Reiss of ESPNBoston.com wonders what to make of last night’s loss, and writes that the team fell back to earth with a ‘thud’ after riding high following their first two impressive wins.

Christopher Price has his “10 Things We Learned From Last Night” column this morning, and writes that preseason football is definitely ‘a funny thing’.

Monique Walker of the Boston Globe looks at the offense, and writes that that unit has their work cutout for them.

Jeff Howe of NESN writes that last night’s ‘dud’ should make for an interesting week for the Patriots as they come back and start preparing for the Giants.

Howe also looks at Chad Ochocinco’s performance, and writes that he failed to make any progress with the offense during the Patriots second preseason game.

Nick Underhill of MassLive.com has his second half thoughts from last night’s game, including the fact that Mark Anderson nearly had a sack against Drew Stanton.

Reiss also has his “quick hit thoughts” for this morning, including the fact he feels that Brandon Tate took a step backwards during last night’s game.   He also feels that Jerod Mayo should be one of the top priorities for the team to reach a contract extension with.

Greg Bedard of the Boston Globe has his ‘On Football’ column this morning, and writes that now that the third exhibition game is in the books, the tough part begins as the Patriots have to make some tough decisions for their first roster cutdown this week.  Bedard also points out the fact New England doesn’t have a pick in the fifth, sixth, and seventh rounds, and he feels they’ll likely do something to rectify that.

Karen Guregian of the Boston Herald writes that it was one month ago to the day that the Patriots brought Albert Haynesworth on board, and the suspense is killing us to see the impact he’s going to make with their defense.

Rich Garven of the Worcester Telegram spotlights linebacker Niko Koutouvides, whose parents are in the restaurant business and were extremely supportive of his son’s desire to pursue a football career.

“Me and my brothers never really got steered into the restaurant business,” said Koutouvides, who can cook “a mean breakfast,” but is otherwise unskilled with a skillet. “Our parents told us, ‘It’s a lot of hours. Money’s hard. Especially in the restaurant business when the economy’s tough.’ ”

Karen Guregian has an article on Nate Solder, who she feels may end up also potentially being a fill in at right guard depending on the severity of Dan Connolly’s injury last night.

Guregian also writes that the pass defense we saw during the first two weeks seemed to have skipped last’s trip out to Detroit.

Paul Kenyon of the Providence Journal has his notebook for this morning, noting the fact that despite the precautions added for NFL players this year, there seem to be more injuries than usual.

Ian Rapoport of the Boston Herald has an entry this morning with a quote from Ndamukong Suh, who talked about how they were able to get after Brady in last night’s game.

“That is what we want,” Suh said. “We want to continue to press the quarterback with everyone having their shot at any point in time. Whatever the front four that is in is going to make a play. So one of us has to make a play. Whether it is myself, Cliff (Avril), Kyle (Vanden Bosch) when he is back, or Corey (Williams) and even going toSammie (Hill) and (Andre Fluellen) and Nick (Fairley) when he comes back, all those guys. We want to be able to have a consistent front and at any point in time whenever four guys are in there, we are affecting the quarterback and people are taking their shots.”

Up next for the Patriots is the New York Giants, who have a turnaround of just a couple of days after having their preseason game moved to Monday night.  The New York Post has a quote from head coach Tom Coughlin, who admitted he plans on holding out his starters with such a short time in between games.

“That [Patriots] would be the game we would deviate from how we’ve done things in the past, simply because you are talking about only two days between games and no real practice time,” Coughlin said yesterday.

Jashvina Shah of NESN has a report that third string quarterback Ryan Mallett partied the night away during the rookie symposium, citing a report from Jason Cole of Yahoo! Sports.  Great news.

And finally Greg Bedard of the Globe files his ‘Sunday Notes’ column, and spotlights former Boston College standout and now New York Giant lineacker Mark Herzlich. Bedard writes that he’s an inspirational story and has already had some great moments, including an interception that he made last week against the Chicago Bears.

That’s it for this morning.  Good luck to everyone today as Irene sweeps through New England, and we’ll have more later this afternoon.