BOSTON (CBS) – The Patriots had a terrible game against the Detroit Lions on Thursday night, with plenty more bad than good.

As ugly as it was, we still have to hand out some hardware from Preseason Game 3.

Gold Stars

– Rob Ninkovich gets a gold star. The Pats defense wasn’t terrible for about a half. They were put in bad position most of the game because of the offensive turnovers but still played well. Ninkovich led the charge with six tackles, a half a sack and a couple of quarterback pressures. I got a chance to watch the replay of the game with the Lions announcers on the call and they praised Ninkovich all game long. He’s become one of the better defensive players on this team.

Read: More From Levan Reid

Kenbrell Thompkins gets a gold star. The undrafted rookie has stepped in and become one of Tom Brady’s favorite targets this preseason. Eight more catches for 116 yards against the Lions on 12 targets. Thompkins not only has locked himself into a roster spot, but he may have locked up a starting role with those numbers.  What’s more telling though is that he dropped a pass, and Tom Brady went right back to him. After the game, Brady had nothing but good things to say about the rookie, so Kenbrell is fitting in just fine with this offense.

Penalty Flags

– The Patriots offensive line as a whole gets a penalty flag. The Lions can pressure the quarterback with their front seven — that’s not a secret. But the Pats O-line did zero to get in their way. They got pushed around and man-handled, which wasn’t what anyone expected. They have to be better at protecting Brady against physical defensive fronts.

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– For all of those who fumbled, penalty flags galore. Shane Vereen was have a solid preseason but he must secure the rock. Brandon Bolden is a bruisng back, but you can’t drop the rock if you’re a bruising back. This week’s penalty flag may just get him cut. Rookie tight end Zach Sudfeld fumbled the ball when the Pats were moving down the field, which cannot happen when games start counting. Hold on to the ball rookie, or you’ll get worse than a penalty flag.

– The Patriots secondary gets a penalty flag. They seemed to have a tough time containing the Lions receivers, and Calvin Johnson did not even play. They played tough with the starters but the backups have got to get better.

Follow Levan Reid on Twitter @LevanReid


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