The Patriots looked lifeless, and Matt Patricia got the better of Bill Belichick
LIONS 26, PATRIOTS 10 | MORE COVERAGE
■ Matt Patricia won his first game as an NFL coach, handed Bill Belichick and the Patriots their second straight loss, and joined Josh McDaniels as the only former Belichick coordinators to beat Belichick on their first try as head coaches. “The Lions did everything a lot better than we did tonight,” Belichick said. (Read more)
■ Jim McBride: The highs, all of the lows, and everything in between from their loss to the Lions. (Read more)
■ Tara Sullivan: Dropping the word “panic” into a sports conversation should be done with caution, especially in Week 3 of a 17-week NFL schedule, especially around the Patriots. But when any crack starts to show, who can’t help but wonder if it’s the beginning of the end? (Read more)
■ On Football: This Patriots’ offense just isn’t very deep or explosive. Tom Brady hasn’t been able to get the ball to his playmakers, and the team's two straight losses have been beset by this sluggish unit. (Read more)
■ Yes, the Patriots were missing two of their best defenders. But that does explain away the litany of indignities on display. All in all, it was a terrible, no good, very bad day, the best news being that it’s over. Nora Princiotti talked to Patriots defenders about what all went wrong and where they go from here. (Read more)
■ Ben Volin’s Instant Analysis: The offense was punchless, the defense was feckless, and this was a horrid performance by the Patriots. (Read more)
■ Chad Finn: How good are the Patriots really? Right now, the generous answer is “not very.” The sarcastic answer? They were so bad Sunday night that Rob Gronkowski would be justified if he decided he wanted to go to the Lions after all, and other thoughts from the Patriots’ loss. (Read more)
■ Odds and ends: Rob Gronkowski confirmed reports that he nixed a trade to the Lions; Josh Gordon was inactive for this one; Rex Burkhead left with a neck injury; Derek Rivers made his long-awaited debut for the Patriots.
The Patriots looked lifeless, and Matt Patricia got the better of Bill Belichick
On a night when Bill Belichick and Matt Patricia were facing off for the first time, Patricia and his Detroit Lions got the better of Belichick and his Patriots as the Lions notched a 26-10 victory at Ford Field on Sunday.
It was the first win of Patricia’s career as an NFL head coach and the Lions’ first win of this season. It was the Patriots’ second straight loss, the first time they have lost back-to-back games since the 2015 season, and the club’s first 1-2 start since 2012. It was also the first time in his career that quarterback Tom Brady lost to the Lions.
“Give all the credit to the players,” Patricia said.
“I’m just happy for the guys. They’re the ones who deserve it.”
Patricia and Belichick had a quick postgame hug. Patricia joined Josh McDaniels as the only former Belichick coordinators to beat Belichick on their first try as head coaches.
“The Lions did everything a lot better than we did tonight,” Belichick said.
The Patriots looked lifeless in all phases. The Lions rolled up 25 first downs to the Patriots’ 12; the Lions converted seven of 14 third downs while the Patriots managed to convert just 2 of 9 third-down chances. To boot, Detroit dominated time of possession, holding the ball for 39 minutes, 15 seconds.
“We were behind, and we were just fighting uphill the whole way. It’s no way to play football,” Brady said.
The offense, which was without receiver Josh Gordon, who was inactive, managed just more than 200 yards of total offense, and Brady completed just 14 passes on 26 attempts for 133 yards, a touchdown, and an interception.
“We took things during the week as they came, and we did what we did today,” Belichick said of Gordon being inactive.
For the second week in a row, tight end Rob Gronkowski was quiet, catching four passes for 51 yards.
“They had good coverage. Double teams. Zone defense. They just played well,” Gronkowski said.
Brady said it “wasn’t like [the Lions] reinvented their defense out there,” but that the Patriots just did not execute properly.
“We all got to get back to work, look at ourselves, and figure out what we need to do to make the team win,” Brady said.
Meanwhile, Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford completed 27 of 36 passes for 262 yards, two touchdowns, and an interception, and rookie Kerryon Johnson became the club’s first 100-yard rusher in a game since 2013, gaining 101 yards on 16 carries. Matt Prater added field goals of 38, 25, 32, and 30 yards.
“It’s just a step in the right direction for us,” Stafford said in a postgame television interview. “Obviously they’re a really good football team, a well-coached team. We knew we were going to have our work cut out for us, but I’m proud of our team. Our guys up front on both sides of the ball played incredible, really dominated the line of scrimmage, that was the difference tonight.”
Photos from the game
Below are updates from the game as they happened:
Lions 26, Patriots 10 (1:56): Matt Prater split the uprights from 30 yards out after the 2-minute warning. LeGarrette Blount rushed three times for a combined gain of one yard to set up the Lions’ score.
Lions 23, Patriots 10 (3:16): Tom Brady again targeted Phillip Dorsett, this time on a fourth-down desperation heave from his own 13-yard line. The pass landed incomplete, Dorsett was injured on the play, and the Lions took over possession with excellent field position.
Lions 23, Patriots 10 (7:39): Brady, seeking Dorsett, fired into double coverage deep over the middle and instead found Lions cornerback Darius Slay. There was a penalty for an illegal blindside block during Slay’s return, but the interception stood and Detroit took over at their own 19-yard line.
Lions 23, Patriots 10 (9:18): Detroit punted for the first time following a three and out of their own. Cyrus Jones was on return duty for New England.
Cyrus Jones with a successful fair catch. That's a big improvement for him— Ben Volin (@BenVolin) September 24, 2018
Lions 23, Patriots 10 (11:02): Tom Brady avoided the first wave of Lions pass rushers but couldn’t stay out of linebacker Eli Harold’s grasp. Before the Patriots quarterback took the sack on third down for another three-and-out, he was forced back 10 yards by a first-down intentional grounding penalty.
Burkhead leaves game: Patriots running back Rex Burkhead is being evaluated for a neck injury, the team announced. He was later ruled questionable to return.
Lions 23, Patriots 10 (12:48): Matt Prater cushioned Detroit’s lead, connecting on a 32-yard field goal after Detroit’s drive stalled in the red zone. Patriots linebacker Elandon Roberts wrapped up Lions fullback Nick Bellore for a 5-yard loss on first down, Matthew Stafford threw an incomplete pass on the next play, then Stafford scrambled for a 10-yard gain to set up Prater’s kick.
End of 3Q, Lions lead 20-10 and driving yet again. Patriots still haven't forced a punt tonight— Ben Volin (@BenVolin) September 24, 2018
Lions 20, Patriots 10 (1:58): The Patriots were forced to punt after a third-down Tom Brady pass intended for Rob Gronkowski fell incomplete. New England picked up one first down, via a Chris Hogan reception and a Sony Michel rush, before Brady unsuccessfully targeted Michel through the air twice to bring up third and 10.
Lions 20, Patriots 10 (3:45): Matthew Stafford arced a deep ball beyond the Patriots secondary and into the waiting arms of wide receiver Marvin Jones for a 33-yard touchdown. Matt Prater tapped the extra point through the uprights to complete the 10-play, 75 yard drive.
Great playcall, great throw by Stafford on 33 yard TD to Marvin Jones. Not much Gilmore can do on that one without safety help— Ben Volin (@BenVolin) September 24, 2018
Touchdown, Lions. Marvin Jones beat Stephon Gilmore for a 33-yarder from Stafford. Wasn't much Gilmore could have done. Nice job by Detroit using the run to set up deep ball— Nora Princiotti (@NoraPrinciotti) September 24, 2018
Lions 13, Patriots 10 (10:03): Facing third and 8 on the Lions 10-yard line, Tom Brady hit James White in stride in the corner of the end zone. The touchdown, the Patriots first of the night, capped a seven-play drive highlighted by a Brady-to-Rob-Gronkowski connection for 19 yards.
Gorgeous throw by Brady to James White, who made a contested catch. Patriots down by a FG, 10:03 left in Q3.— Nora Princiotti (@NoraPrinciotti) September 24, 2018
Lions 13, Patriots 3 (13:34): Rookie linebacker Ja’Whaun Bentley intercepted Matthew Stafford and the Patriots’ offense took over at their own 48-yard line.
Lions get the ball to start the 3Q. Let's see if the Patriots can actually force a punt— Ben Volin (@BenVolin) September 24, 2018
The Lions took a 13-3 lead into the break. A few stats:
Total yards: NE 70, DET 231
Plays: NE 19, DET 38
Yards per play: NE 3.7, DET 6.1
First downs: NE 3, DET 17
Third down: NE 1-5, DET 3-5
Penalties: NE 2-10, DET 2-20
Tom Brady: 7-11, 55 yards, 76.0 rating
Matthew Stafford: 18-23, 150 yards, TD, 108.3 rating
The Lions dominated the time-of-possession battle, keeping the ball for 21 minutes, 26 seconds. The Patriots’ offense was on field for just 8:34 in the first two quarters.
On the ground, Sony Michel rushed for 10 yards on seven carries, while Kerryon Johnson ran for 54 yards with the same amount of touches. Neither team turned the ball over.
It's halftime. Tackling poor, play calling inexplicable, they're only down 13-3.— Nora Princiotti (@NoraPrinciotti) September 24, 2018
Lions 13, Patriots 3 (0:40): Stephen Gostkowski put the Patriots on the board shortly before halftime with a 36-yard field goal. Tom Brady led his offense 57 yards downfield, finding tight end Rob Gronkowski and running back Rex Burkhead for big gains during the 11-play drive. The Detroit defense stopped Sony Michel behind the line of scrimmage on third and 1 from its own 16-yard line to force the kicking unit into the fray.
Patriots go with the quick snap, and get overwhelmed by the Lions' defensive line. Nothing is working tonight— Ben Volin (@BenVolin) September 24, 2018
Lions 13, Patriots 0 (4:58): Matt Prater’s 25-yard kick extended Detroit’s lead. The Lions’ 14-play, 71 yard drive came to a halt on third-and-goal from the Patriots 7-yard line when a Matthew Stafford pass sailed through the back of the end zone incomplete.
Patriots bennnnnnnd but don't break. Prater 25 FG is good, and Lions push their lead to 13-0 with 4:58 left 2Q.— Ben Volin (@BenVolin) September 24, 2018
Lions are out-gaining the Patriots 196 yards to 13. Lions are winning the time of possession battle, 20:46 to 4:16.
Patriots defense busted for 12 men on the field. From bad to worse— Ben Volin (@BenVolin) September 24, 2018
Defensive personnel update for the Patriots:
JC Jackson replaces Jason McCourty to start this drive— Ben Volin (@BenVolin) September 24, 2018
Lions 10, Patriots 0 (13:12): Another Patriots possession, another three-and-out. This time, Sony Michel rushed for two yards on the first play and wide receiver Rex Burhead reeled in a Tom Brady pass for seven yards, before Lions defensive end Ricky Jean Francois — who played for the Patriots last season — stopped Michel in the backfield on third-and-one.
Former Patriot Ricky Jean Francois stops Sony Michel on 3rd down and the Patriots punt again.— Nora Princiotti (@NoraPrinciotti) September 24, 2018
3 and out
3 and out
3 and out
Lions 10, Patriots 0 (14:12): Patriots cornerback Stephon Gilmore looked to have saved a touchdown by bringing down Kenny Golladay just before he reached for the goal line. But Matt Patricia launched his challenge flag, and officials ruled upon review that Golladay had crossed the goal line, punctuating Detroit’s nine-play, 60-yard drive with a 4-yard touchdown reception.
PAT is good, and Lions push the score to 10-0 with 13:53 left 2Q. This drive goes 60 yards in 9 plays over 5:41. Lions have gone on two length drives so far, picking up 9 first downs and only getting to third down once— Ben Volin (@BenVolin) September 24, 2018
Lions 3, Patriots 0 (5:03): Tom Brady and the Patriots went three-and-out on their second possession. Brady threw a pass to Sony Michel that went for a 1-yard loss, then Brady fired back-to-back incomplete passes to Phillip Dorsett. The Lions took over possession on their own 40-yard line after Ryan Allen’s 36-yard punt.
A lot of Pony Packages tonight for the Patriots. White and Burkhead were in the game together on the first drive. Now White and Michel— Ben Volin (@BenVolin) September 24, 2018
Brady had Dorsett open over the middle, but threw behind him. Second iffy throw by Brady so far. He's 1 for 4 for minus-1 yard— Ben Volin (@BenVolin) September 24, 2018
Lions 3, Patriots 0 (6:00): After an 11-play drive by the Matthew Stafford-led Lions offense stalled just outside the New England red zone, Matt Prater kicked a 38-yard field goal. Former Patriots running back LeGarrette Blount, who won two Super Bowls in his four years in New England, had four carries for 16 yards on the drive.
Lions moving the ball, have 4th and inches. Matt Patricia sends the FG unit out. Fans displeased.— Nora Princiotti (@NoraPrinciotti) September 24, 2018
Patriots 0, Lions 0 (13:44): After Cordarrelle Patterson returned the opening kick 45 yards, New England went three-and-out. Quarterback Tom Brady handed off to running back Sony Michel for gains of 6 yards and 1 yard, then Brady threw an incomplete pass over the middle intended for Chris Hogan.
Lions the first team to kick to Cordarrelle Patterson. They learned quickly why the Texans and Jaguars chose not to.— Nora Princiotti (@NoraPrinciotti) September 24, 2018
Patriots coach Bill Belichick appeared to have an issue with the turf at Ford Field and had a short but mildly animated conversation with an official at the end of the pregame warmups.
The coach specifically pointed to midfield section where the Lions logo is located. Earlier several Patriots, including practice squad quarterback Danny Etling, were testing the area with their feet and perhaps they alerted Belichick.
Ford Field is where receiver Julian Edelman lost his footing during a preseason game in 2017 and tore his ACL, costing him the season.
— Jim McBride, Globe Staff
Patriots captain Matthew Slater called heads and the coin came up tails. The Lions deferred to the second half, so New England will receive the opening kickoff.
Pregame scenes and observations
Don't believe I saw Patricia exchange pleasantries with any of the Patriots' coaches or players in pregame. He's all business tonight— Ben Volin (@BenVolin) September 23, 2018
Gordon highlights inactives list
Wide receiver Josh Gordon is inactive for tonight’s game. The Patriots acquired him from the Cleveland Browns last Monday, but the former All-Pro will have to wait to make his debut for New England. He wast listed on Friday’s game injury report as questionable with a hamstring injury.
Here is the full list of Patriots inactives: Gordon, tight end Jacob Hollister, safety Patrick Chung, defensive end Trey Flowers, cornerback Eric Rowe, and offensive linemen Brian Schwenke and Cole Croston.
Cornerbacks Keion Crossen, Cyrus Jones, and J.C. Jackson, and defensive end Derek Rivers are all active.
Brady's weapons tonight:— Ben Volin (@BenVolin) September 23, 2018
RB: Burkhead, Michel, White
WR: Hogan, Dorsett, Patterson
TE: Gronk, Allen
For the Lions, offensive lineman Andrew Donnal, wide receiver Brandon Powell, offensive guard Joe Dahl, defensive end Ezekiel Ansah, defensive end Kerry Hyder, tight end Michael Roberts, and running back Ameer Abdullah are all inactive.
Here is a look at Gordon’s pregame workout:
Josh Gordon is warming up with a large group of players who will play tonight— Ben Volin (@BenVolin) September 23, 2018
Now Josh Gordon is warming up with players who will be active.— Nora Princiotti (@NoraPrinciotti) September 23, 2018
Although now he's stretching individually with strength and conditioning coach Moses Cabrera. Seems like he's reeeeeally borderline. If he is active, I wouldn't expect much.— Nora Princiotti (@NoraPrinciotti) September 23, 2018
Other pregame storylines
Former colleagues now foes: Bill Belichick and Matt Patricia are on opposite sidelines, with Patricia trying to notch his first win as an NFL coach. Belichick has coached against one of his former coordinators in 15 games. He is 11-4 against Eric Mangini, Romeo Crennel, Josh McDaniels, and Bill O’Brien. In the first meeting between Belichick and his former pupils, when they would have the closest familiarity with the Patriots’ scheme and players, Belichick is 3-1. Nora Princiotti has more on the pros and cons of former assistants going against Belichick.
Familiar faces: Patricia has brought in a half-dozen ex-Patriots since taking over in Detroit. As expected, it’s a heavy dose of his former defensive players, including tackle Ricky Jean Francois and linebacker Marquis Flowers on the active roster, and end Eric Lee and cornerback Cre’von LeBlanc on the practice squad. On offense, the Lions have former Patriots running back LeGarrette Blount and quarterback Matt Cassel.
Defensive injuries: Patrick Chung, Trey Flowers, and Eric Rowe were all ruled out for Sunday’s game. Chung and Flowers suffered concussions a week ago against the Jaguars and Rowe is sidelined with a groin injury.