Detroit Lions crushed by New England Patriots 31-3 in preseason opener

Tom Brady, New England Patriots (Photo by Rey Del Rio/Getty Images)
Tom Brady, New England Patriots (Photo by Rey Del Rio/Getty Images) /

Injuries and sloppiness scared the Detroit Lions’ preseason opener as they fall 31-3 to the defending champion New England Patriots.

The first preseason game of the year is rarely an indicator of an NFL team’s regular-season fortune. The Detroit Lions had better hope that holds true after their listless performance on Thursday.

The Lions were held to 93 total yards of offense in offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell’s team debut, losing 31-3 to the New England Patriots. They surrendered nine sacks.

The Lions played without many of their starting players on offense, including quarterback Matthew Stafford, receivers Kenny Golladay and Marvin Jones and running back Kerryon Johnson. Tom Savage started under center and finished just two for three throwing before leaving with an injury in the first quarter. David Fales took over and connected on just five of fourteen passes for 62 yards.

Receiver Jermaine Kearse was carted off the field in the first quarter after suffering a gruesome leg injury. Savage and defensive lineman Darius Kilgo also left with first-half injuries. At halftime, the Lions trailed 20-0, were being outgained 262 yards to 28 and had surrendered six sacks.

The Lions weren’t much better on defense, surrendering 459 total yards. Ryan Santoso’s 37-yard field goal late in the fourth quarter accounted for the Lions’ only points. Rookie running back Ty Johnson led the Lions with 22 yards on three carries.

Six-time Super Bowl champion quarterback Tom Brady was held out, with Brian Hoyer starting in his place. Hoyer finished 12/16 for 196 yards and touchdown throws of 14 and 3 yards before giving way to rookie Jarrett Stidham.

Lions head coach Matt Patricia made use of the NFL’s new pass interference challenge rule by protesting a call against Patriots rookie cornerback Joejuan Williams in the third quarter. The call stood upon review.

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Following a series of joint practices next week, the Detroit Lions continue their preseason schedule on August 17th at 8:00 p.m. EST on the road against the Houston Texans.