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Snap Judgments: Lions 34, Patriots 10

08.27.11 at 11:09 pm ET
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A forgettable night of football for the Patriots, as they were dominated in all three phases of the game on the way to a 34-10 loss to the Lions in Detroit.

New England, which suffered its first preseason loss in 2011, saw Tom Brady go 12-for-22 for 145 yards in two-plus quarters of action, finishing with one touchdown and one interception. Meanwhile, Danny Woodhead ran for a team-high 28 yards on four carries, while Wes Welker had three catches for 71 yards and a touchdown.

On the other side of the ball, the Lions offense had few issues all night: Detroit quarterback Matthew Stafford was 12-for-14 for 200 yards and two touchdowns. Meanwhile, receivers Nate Burleson (two catches, 46 yards, one touchdown), Jerome Harrison (three 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.

Early on, the game looked an awful lot like the last time these two teams met last Thanksgiving, a mean, physical contest that had lots of hitting after the whistle. In that one, Detroit was able to generate a lot of pressure early and take a lead, but the Patriots were able to claw their way back and take home a win. But on Saturday, there was no comeback for New England, as the Patriots fell into a 17-3 hole and never recovered.

WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE PATRIOTS

Julian Edelman was probably the biggest positive in this game for the Patriots. The wide receiver and return man posted a 26-yard punt return that set up the Patriots first touchdown, a 44-yard scoring strike from Brady to Welker. In addition, he had one kick return, and played into the second half at the receiver position and came away with two catches for 12 yards before leaving the game late in the third quarter. (According to those who were there, Edelman was having his hand or finger looked at on the sidelines.)

Welker also had a good night, gathering in the lone touchdown pass from Brady, a 44-yarder down the seam in the second quarter on a sweet play-action fake. He left the game shortly after making the tackle on Detroit’s Ricardo Silva, who picked off Brady in the first half. On the play, Welker dipped his head and tackled Ricardo Silva, bring him to the turf at the Patriots 46. Welker walked off the field by himself before getting examined by Patriots trainers and medical staff.

WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE PATRIOTS

The Patriots were simply not prepared for the level of energy that the Lions had. In the days leading up to the contest, several Detroit players pointed to this game as a measuring stick, and that level of intensity showed. There were some questionable hits, to be sure, but it was clear from the jump that the Lions had the proper attitude when it came to this contest, and that showed on the scoreboard. (The Patriots got a brief jolt on the sidelines when Patriots offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien called the entire offense together late in the first half with New England trailing 17-3 and aired them out in an expletive-filled rant.)

The New England offensive line was overwhelmed throughout the first two quarters by Detroit’s defensive front. Detroit defensive linemen Cliff Avril and Ndamukong Suh ran wild throughout the first half, doing to the Patriots what the New England defensive front did to Tampa Bay last week. Making things tougher was the loss of starting right guard Dan Connolly, who went down with what appeared to be a foot injury in the first half. The Patriots had to turn to backup Rich Ohrnberger, who was abused by Suh.

The Patriots secondary had a sluggish night, with Devin McCourty making a few nice plays — including a breakup of a Nate Burleson reception — but other that that, it was a long evening. Kyle Arrington had a sack (after Andre Carter attracted the bulk of the attention from the o-line) and an interception, but was picked on by the Lions on a number of pass plays. The secondary appeared confused and out of place on a number of occasions, including a first-half touchdown pass from Detroit where Jerod Mayo was seen barking at his teammates as soon as the play was done.

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