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After opening the preseason with a pair of dominating efforts, the New England Patriots were humbled on Saturday night, falling 34-10 to the Lions at Ford Field in Detroit, Mich.
Quarterback Tom Brady struggled after being pressured and rushed by the Lions defensive line throughout, causing him to miss throws and receivers that he usually makes. The two-time Super Bowl MVP tossed for 145 yards on 12-22, firing both a second-quarter touchdown and interception in the loss.
Backups Brian Hoyer and Ryan Mallett fared no better, as the two signal-callers could not generate any scoring drives. Hoyer finished the evening with 88 yards on 6-12 attempts, while Mallet completed 9-14 passes for 65 yards.
Another unit receiving high marks throughout the preseason, the Patriots defensive unit was over matched by the Detroit offense. Lions QB Matthew Stafford showed his No. 1 pick potential, dissecting the New England secondary for 200 yards. Stafford finished 12-14 with two touchdowns and a perfect quarterback rating of 158.3.
Detroit scored on five of its first seven possessions en route to a 27-10 halftime lead, with scoring drives of 65, 57, 51, 52 and 46 yards.
Wes Welker provided the lone offense for New England, scoring on a Tom Brady pass in the second quarter. Welker split the safeties on a play-action, catching Brady’s perfect pass and scampering the rest of the way untouched.
On Brady’s interception, Welker made a nice open field tackle. However, the Texas Tech alum injured his neck on the play and did not return.
Julian Edelman – Edelman appeared to clinch a roster spot with some solid special teams play on Saturday. Edelman showed some flashy moves on an exciting 26-yard punt return, while later returning a kickoff 32 yards.
Kyle Arrington – Arrington registered a red zone interception late in the third quarter, hauling a possible Lions scoring drive. He was one of the lone Patriots defenders that stood out. Arrington also sacked Stafford on a key third down to force a Lions’ punt.
Aaron Hernandez – Hernandez corralled a one-handed Brady throw on 3rd and 13, using his moves and muscle to earn the first down. The second-year player from Florida ended his evening with five receptions for 46 yards.
Tom Brady– Brady was unable to find a rhythm in his one half of play. While Brady connected with Welker on a 44 yard play-action touchdown, Brady also tossed a crucial interception during the two-minute drill that cost the Pats points as the first half ended.
Offensive Line– One significant factor in Brady’s play was the struggles of his offensive line. Lions defensive lineman Ndamukong Suh, Cliff Avril and others continually broke through protection to pressure New England passers. The line was unable to create a solid ground attack as well, as Patriots runners gained 61 yards on 17 carries.
Devin McCourty– An emerging star, McCourty acquiesced a pair of long receptions to Calvin Johnson and Maurice Stovall during the first half. While Johnson’s long haul was severely under thrown, McCourty appeared out of position on several Stafford passes.
The Patriots return to action next Thursday at Gillette Stadium to conclude the preseason, battling the New York Giants.