The New England Patriots fell flat in a 40-9 drubbing by the Detroit Lions at Ford Field in the third and most important contest of the preseason on Thursday night. The Patriots, after looking precise and efficient on offense in their first two exhibitions games, were sloppy and dysfunctional in an embarrassing defeat.
Tom Brady was on the field for nine possessions, and yet the Patriots were only able to muster a field goal. The Patriots entered the locker room at half time with more turnovers (four) than points (three). The first-team offense left the game on a sour note, trailing 16-3.
However, the backups for the Patriots were even more deplorable as Ryan Mallett was off-target all night, completing just half of the passes he threw. The Patriots trailed by as many as 37 points as Lions second-string QB Kellen Moore threw all over the Patriots’ secondary that was praised by Bill Belichick earlier in the week for its “versatility”.
The low point of the night had to be the booming “We Want Tebow” chants from the contingent of fans who yearned for the third-string QB to see some action in the game. Belichick refused to grant the wishes of the fans as Tim Tebow was relegated to the bench for the entire game.
The loss was disturbing for a Patriots squad that looked so effective throughout training camp and the first half of the preseason. For Patriots fans, the beat-down may be especially tough to swallow in the wake of the franchise’s worst offseason in team history, as feelings of doubt towards championship aspirations have crawled into the minds of Pats Nation for the first time in over a decade.
Alas, there is still reason for Pats Nation to hang their heads high.
Kenbrell Thompkins shined once again on offense, catching eight passes for 116 yards. Thompkins has gone from an undrafted rookie to arguably the team’s go-to-target after excelling in his second consecutive start. Thompkins was able to step up his play in the absence of Danny Amendola, whose injury still remains a mystery. Thompkins presents Brady with his best deep-ball target since Randy Moss was shipped out of town.
The most important takeaway from the loss is that preseason results need to be kept in context. Two years ago, the Patriots got demolished by the Lions 34-10 in the third week of the preseason. The Pats went on to win 13 games that year, earning the No. 1 overall seed in the AFC en route to another Super Bowl appearance.
Breathe, Patriots fans, it’s only the preseason and there is plenty of football left to be played.