Detroit Lions Recliner Report – New England Patriots 3

2:07 AM 23 Aug 2013

Reggie, Reggie, Reggie! Oh what a difference a week can make!

The Detroit Lions hosted the New England Patriots at Ford Field on Thursday night and gave Lions fans a reason to hope again. After Detroit’s lackluster showing against the Cleveland Browns in their previous preseason game fans were left wondering if all the off-season hype surrounding the Detroit Lions and their dominating defensive line unit was just a healthy dose of Honolulu Blue Kool-Aid. Cleveland dominated the Lions in every aspect of that last game, but Detroit rebounded nicely to put a 40-9 shellacking on Tom Brady and his Patriots.

A win is a win and a win against the New England Patriots is a huge confidence builder –  even if it is in the preseason. The last time the Lions beat the Patriots in a preseason game it was two years ago and the Lions made the playoffs that season.

455 yards of total offense and 4 defensive turnovers is something that Lions fans should take hold of as the fourth and final preseason game approaches on August 29, 2013. The third preseason game is generally used as the dress rehearsal game for the regular season in the NFL. Not many starters are expected to play for very long, if at all, in Detroit’s final preseason game on the road where they’ll take on the Buffalo Bills at Ralph Wilson Stadium, so the game against the Patriots is where Lions fans can look to for a glimpse of what could be in 2013.

There were a lot of positives to take away from the convincing win over the Patriots, but there were plenty of negatives as well.

RB Reggie Bush

RB Reggie Bush had 104 yards of total offense in the Lions victory over the New England Patriots

RB Reggie Bush only had 1 yard rushing on 6 carries, but he pitched in 103 yards receiving on 5 receptions in one half of play. Reggie Bush is looking like the key to open up Calvin Johnson and the one dimensional Lions offense. Defenses are going to be forced to respect Bush and his versatility or Reggie Bush might end up with 1000 yards rushing and 1000 receiving in his debut season in Detroit.

QB Matthew Stafford struggled mightily again for the third consecutive week. Stafford was 12 of 25 passing with 166 yards and a TD in one half of play. To be fair, he was pressured a lot and there were a few dropped passes, but Stafford’s body language appeared accusatory and not what you would expect from the  leader of a storied franchise. His struggles in the preseason are very concerning and he will need to take a long look in the mirror to figure out what is going on there.

DE/DT Jason Jones, a Detroit native, started out slowly when the Patriots ran back to back plays on his side for big gains. After that, though, Jones settled in and dominated the rest of his time in the game with constant pressure, a pair of QB sacks, and a fumble recovery.

The defensive line unit as a whole played very well throughout the game. DTs Ndamukong Suh and Nick Fairley continue to impose their will upon opposing offensive lineman. The mighty DT tandem combined for 5 tackles in two quarters of play, but the stat sheet in no way does justice to the importance of their persistent pressure and harassment of the QB. The future is beyond bright for these two.

Penalties, penalties, penalties. Eleven penalties for 102 yards. Absolutely disgusting. The yellow flags have been flying far too often against the Lions this preseason and that is a product of no discipline. No discipline is a product of the Head Coach not doing a good enough job of coaching and maintaining control over the team. That means Jim Schwartz and company need to figure out what is going on and soon. Mental mistakes in the regular season can and will cost the team wins. There is no excuse for the mental mistakes that have plagued the Lions so far this preseason.

A couple of popular position battles seem to have worked themselves out.

RB Joique Bell had a great game compiling 52 yards rushing and 49 yards receiving. He looks like the clear cut number two RB over Mikel Leshoure and behind starter Reggie Bush.

Rookie CB Darius Slay took full advantage of his opportunity with the starting defense racking up four tackles, but his cover skills appear to be the best of all the DBs on the team. Look for Slay to be starting opposite CB Chris Houston week 1.

K David Akers missed a chip shot FG of 31 yards but connected on his other four FG attempts finishing 4 for 5 on FG attempts and 2 for 2 on extra point attempts. Akers seems to have sealed the deal for kicking duties this season.

Rookie P Sam Martin had four punts for 224 yards with a long of 61 yards. He pinned the Patriots back on their own 1 yard line and handled kickoff duties yet again this week. The fifth round pick in this years draft has answered why the Lions took a punter so high. He has won a roster spot after his very capable showing; if he didn’t already occupy it.

New additions to the Lions roster this off-season are paying big dividends on the field. Here’s a few players that stood out in the game:

CB Slay, SS Quin, DE/DT Jones, DE Ansah, RB Bush, P Martin, K Akers, CB Mathis, WR Willis, DT Bannan, RB Riddick, TE Fauria, DE D. Taylor, T Waddle.

By the Numbers

NE
DET
1st Downs 21 23
Passing 1st downs
14 16
Rushing 1st downs
3 6
1st downs from Penalties
4 1
3rd down efficiency
5-14 7-15
4th down efficiency
0-2 0-0
Total Plays 77 69
Total Yards 330 455
Yards per play 4.3 6.6
Total Drives 14 14
Passing 262 331
Comp – Att
27-46 23-39
Yards per pass
5.7 8.5
Interceptions thrown
1 0
Sacks – Yards Lost
2-19 1-7
Rushing 68 124
Rushing Attempts
29 29
Yards per rush
2.3 4.3
Red Zone (Made-Att) 1-3 4-7
Penalties 4-26 11-102
Turnovers 4 0
Fumbles lost
3 0
Interceptions thrown
1 0
Defensive / Special Teams TDs 0 0
Possession 27:56 32:04
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