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Halftime analysis: Lions 27, Patriots 10

08.27.11 at 9:39 pm ET
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Detroit leads the Patriots 27-10 after two quarters of play at Ford Field. Here are a couple of quick notes:

It was a rough two quarters of football for the Patriots, who looked like they were overwhelmed early by the Lions’ energy in all three phases of the game. Detroit jumped out to a 10-0 lead (a lead that should have been 14-0 if wide receiver Nate Burleson hadn’t dropped a pass in the end zone), and save for two drives where the Patriots’ Stephen Gostkowski connected for a 33-yard field goal and Tom Brady hit Wes Welker on a 44-yard touchdown pass, it was almost all Lions.

Detroit quarterback Matthew Stafford started 12-for-14 for 200 yards and two touchdowns. Meanwhile, receivers Burleson (two catches, 46 yards, one touchdown), Jerome Harrison (two catches, 51 yards), Aaron Brown (four catches, 48 yards, one touchdown) and Tony Scheffler (three catches, 38 yards, one touchdown) all had big first halves as the Lions moved the ball with relative ease up and down the field against the Patriots’ defense.

On the other side of the ball, Ndamukong Suh and Cliff Avril (two sacks) set up shop in New England’s backfield at the expense of the Patriots’ offensive line, harassing Brady throughout the first half and generally making life miserable for the Patriots’ offense. (So much so that Patriots offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien called the entire offense together late in the first half with New England trailing 17-3 and and aired them out in an expletive-filled rant.) Brady was 11-for-20 for 142 yards, with one touchdown and one interception, while Welker had three catches for 71 yards and a touchdown, while BenJarvus Green-Ellis had four carries for 28 yards. Right guard Dan Connolly was injured early in the first half and replaced by Rich Ohrnberger.

The game had many of the same earmarks of the contest that took place between the two teams last Thanksgiving — Detroit jumped out to an early lead in that one and controlled the pace through much of the first half. In that one (as was the case this evening), it was a physical, nasty affair with lots of hitting after the whistle, including a nasty shot by Suh.

There were some good things: Julian Edelman‘s nifty 26-yard punt return late in the second quarter set up the 44-yard scoring strike. And the pass play from Brady to Welker came as the result of a perfectly executed play-action fake to Green-Ellis that burned the Detroit secondary. And there were a couple of questionable calls, including a facemask on Logan Mankins that came on a sequence where Suh gave him a shot that wasn’t noticed by the officials. But all in all, a forgettable first half of football for New England.

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