Following the 30-28 loss at the hands of the New England Patriots, here’s the Detroit Lions’ most shocking statistic from that game.
In the first four minutes for the Detroit Lions‘ third preseason contest of the exhibition season, you knew Detroit was in for a stiff reality check. After two relatively trouble-free victories over the Indianapolis Colts, then the New York Jets, the Lions’ were riding high on preseason hope. Then the reigning Super Bowl champion New England Patriots came to the Motor City…and things suddenly changed.
By the 11:51 mark in the first quarter, the Patriots were up by 13 points and both the Lions’ offense and defense all but disappeared. New England would go on to add 11 more points to that early lead prior to the end of the first quarter. And the Lions’ offense wouldn’t put up their first points until 1:24 left in the first half.
Although the Lions would make a heroic comeback in the second half, the Patriots would ultimately come away with a 30-28 victory after booting a 45-yard go-ahead field goal with two seconds left in the game.
Regardless of the final score, the real worry for the Lions is how flat both the team’s offense and defense looked against the Pats. Specifically in the first quarter, where Detroit simply got steamrolled by New England at home, in Ford Field.
And in that first quarter is where one Lions’ insider believes the most telling and shocking statistic of the game lies.
"“It was 1 and 1,” explained columnist Mike O’Hara on DetroitLions.com. “The Lions had one first down in the first 15 minutes, and the Patriots had one penalty. That didn’t tell the whole story, of course. The 24-0 score did that. The Patriots dominated the quarter. They had a 196-32 advantage in yards gained. As one-sided as the quarter was, the Lions’ ineffectiveness on offense and defense, and the Patriots’ discipline while gaining yards almost at will stood out.”"
Obviously, it’s not breaking news that the Lions aren’t the Patriots. Last season, New England ranked 4th in total offense and 8th in total defense. Offensively, Detroit ranked 21st in the NFL in 2016, but they also possessed the league’s 11th best passing attack. And their defense ranked 18th for the second year in a row.
So, the Lions are far from the worst team in the NFL. But after posting a 9-7 record last season and making the playoff for the second time in three years, I simply expected to see more from the Lions’ starters than what they showed Friday night.
And how the first teamers played against New England should have Lions’ fans worried about the upcoming regular season opener against the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday, September 10th. With Detroit’s starters likely sitting out the final preseason matchup against Buffalo Bills this Thursday, their poor showing against the Patriots was their last chance to prepare for the real thing.
Normally, when a team is about to head into the regular season, you want a nice. easy warm up game to build the confidence of the squad. Unfortunately, the way the Detroit Lions played against the New England Patriots on Friday, their starters are going into the new season licking their wounds.