By Trevor Browning
Few people expected a Lions win on Sunday against New England on the road. Considering this, Detroit was hoping to at least make a game of it. The Lions failed to score a touchdown for the second straight game, this week losing 34-9.
Tom Brady marched the Patriots up and down the field on Sunday, dominating the toughest defense in the league.
Detroit (7-4) lost for the second straight week against a conference leader, losing to Arizona 14-6 a week ago.
The Lions had 181 total yards in the first half, but had to settle for 48- and 20- yard field goals by Matt Prater.
He also missed a kick from 53 yards.
Settling for field goals, instead of touchdowns, on the road, against the No. 2 scoring team in the NFL will normally not result in a win.
Detroit started their first drive with a strong offensive showing with two receptions by Golden Tate of 24 and 17 yards respectively. Their drive stalled on the Patriots 30 where the Lions were able to grab an early 3-0 lead with a Prater field goal.
The Lions defense got off to a promising start in this game, forcing back-to-back three-and-outs. Ndamukong Suh was very special during this sequence as he continued to put pressure on Brady.
The bad news for Detroit is that their offense failed to do anything during this stretch. Their offense continued to stall as they had two three-and-outs of their own.
Things started going worse for Detroit as they watched Danny Amendola return a kickoff for 81 yards. Three plays later, New England was back in the end zone, this time on a 3-yard run by newly-acquired running back LaGarrette Blount.
New England had a convincing 24-6 lead at Halftime.
The second half was much more of the same for the struggling offense of the Lions. They continued to drop catchable passes, establish a running game, which resulted in struggling for first downs.
New England, on the other hand, started off the third quarter with receivers open left and right. Detroit didn’t look to have an answer.
The Patriots fought their way down to the Detroit 10, and it looked like another touchdown on the way. However, Detroit’s defense stepped up and James Ihedigbo jumped in front of New England’s Rob Gronkowski for Brady’s first and only interception of the game. Unsurprisingly, Detroit failed to score on the turnover after electing to punt on 4th and inches instead of taking a risk.
The Teams traded field goals in the second half (New England had two) before a Blount touchdown run with 1:53 remaining made it 34-9.
The Patriots, the NFL’s highest scoring team going in, showed they could do whatever it takes to exploit a defense, finishing with 29 first downs and 439 total yards of offense.
Matthew Stafford finished the game 18-of-46 passing for 264 yards and no touchdowns and an interception. He finished with a 49.5 passer rating, the lowest of his career.
On the other side, Brady was terrific, minus that third quarter interception to Ihedigbo. Besides that one mistake, he completed 18-of-53 passes for 349 yards and two touchdowns. His final passer rating was 94.0.
Calvin Johnson was held to 58 receiving yards on only four catches. Golden Tate finished with 97 receiving yards, putting him over 1000 yards in his first season as a Lion. After a remarkable game last week (201 yards 4 TD), New England running back Jonas Gray didn’t have a carry after showing up late to practice on Friday. Deandre Levy led the way for the Lions defense with 10 tackles.