By Michael Hurley, CBS Boston
Final, 30-28 Patriots: The Lions’ final play was a terrible, hilarious attempt at something. It fell incomplete despite no defenders in the zip code of the receiver. This one is over.
Fourth quarter, :02 30-28 Patriots: A good way to wash away the taste of a dreadful second half is to lead a game-winning drive. Garoppolo, Foster and Cody Hollister were able to do just that.
Starting from their own 32, the drive began with a pass up the left side to Hollister, who found space for a 32-yard catch-and-run. Foster then picked up 11 yards on the next two carries to get the Patriots into field-goal range. The Patriots then drained some clock before calling timeout and getting out of the way for Stephen Gostkowski.
The 45-yarder was good, and the Patriots are going to get the win.
Fourth quarter, 2:01, 28-27 Lions: With Brad Kaaya in the game at quarterback for Detroit, the Patriots’ D forced a quick three-and-out.
New England takes over at their own 32-yard line after a 12-yard return by Cyrus Jones.
Fourth quarter, 3:43, 28-27 Lions: The offense fixed some things, working in some plays that forced Garoppolo to get rid of the ball quickly. The adjustments worked, as the Patriots drove up the field. D.J. Foster converted a fourth-and-5 at the 25-yard line to keep the drive going, but he couldn’t move the chains on a third down in the red zone, and New England had to settle for a field goal.
James O’Shaughnessy had a very bad drop toward the end of that drive that certainly didn’t help.
Fourth quarter, 7:21, 28-24 Lions: The Patriots’ defense has just had no pushback whatsoever. Credit to the Lions for doing everything better than their counterparts, but from a New England perspective, it’s been ugly.
The Lions just completed yet another touchdown drive, this one 60 yards, which gives Detroit a lead in the fourth.
Of course the final score of a preseason game doesn’t mean a whole lot, but it’ll be a tough pill to swallow for a number of guys on that team and coaching staff if they blow a 24-0 lead in any scenario.
Fourth quarter, 11:27, 24-21 Patriots: The Garoppolo-led offense still can’t get going, going three-and-out yet again. Lucien picked up eight yards on first down, but Foster had nowhere to run on second down and then couldn’t haul in a third-down pass.
It really has been a grisly showing for a lot of guys fighting for roster spots. Nobody’s really been able to stand out in a positive way.
Fourth quarter, 13:00, 24-21 Patriots: The New England defense finally comes up with a stop (it was bound to happen), and we’ll now see if the offense can mount a respectable drive here and maybe even score some points.
Third quarter, 2:51, 24-21 Patriots: Jimmy Garoppolo and the Patriots generate just nine yards of offense, and it’s back to the punt team.
The Patriots have just not been good enough on either side of the ball since the starters left the game, and offensively, that’s kind of spread across all 11 men on the field. D.J. Foster ran into a wall of humans on first down, Devin Lucien couldn’t hang on to a pass on second down, and Austin Carr made a catch a yard shy of the sticks on third down. It’s certainly not Patriots football the way we’ve come to know it.
Third quarter, 3:36, 24-21 Patriots: Nobody expects the Patriots’ backup defense to be dominant, but they’re supposed to at least put up a fight. They’re not doing that now, as they just allowed another long Detroit touchdown drive. This one went 62 yards, with Detroit converting two third downs along the way. It ended with an 11-yard touchdown pass from Jake Rudock to Jared Abbrederis.
Third quarter, 8:38, 24-14 Patriots: Another reality — New England’s second-string offense is not quite as exceptional as the starting unit.
The drive began on the 8-yard line, following a penalty on the punt return. Nobody blocked for D.J. Foster on a screen, and he got walloped. He then ran for 2 yards on second down, and Garoppolo scrambled and had to tuck and run for 5-yard gain on third down. Ugly drive.
It’s more exciting when the starters are playing, and nobody on that series looked good.
Third quarter, 10:34, 24-14 Patriots: New England’s second-string defense is not as good as the starting defense. That was pretty clear on that drive, as Matthew Stafford led the Lions up the field for 88 yards to get back into the end zone.
It was all starters in for Detroit, so the result is not altogether surprising. Jim Caldwell likely wanted those guys to feel a little bit better coming out of what will likely be their final preseason action.
Third quarter, 14:55, 24-7 Patriots: Second half is underway. Lions ball.
Halftime, 24-7 Patriots: Garoppolo entered the game to hand it off twice to bleed the clock. That was one heck of a first half for the Patriots, but the Edelman injury certainly puts a major damper on it.
Brady went 12-for-15 for 174 yards for two touchdowns and the oh-what-the-heck interception.
Gillislee ran for 38 yards and a touchdown on eight carries, while White ran for 25 yards on just four carries. Hogan caught four passes for 70 yards and two touchdowns, Edelman had three for 52, and Amendola had two for 27.
Second quarter, 1:19, 24-7 Patriots: The Lions are on the board. An 80-yard drive is capped off by a 23-yard touchdown pass to Marvin Jones, who beat Malcolm Butler in man coverage. Butler was in tight coverage but appeared to have lost Jones when turning back and looking for the ball.
Second quarter, 4:02, 24-0 Patriots: Well, when things are going impossibly well, things are due to level out. That happened here, as Brady threw a deep ball to … nobody, really. Chris Hogan had given up on a play with two Lions around him, and that happened just as Brady was launching a deep pass.
The ball was picked off in the end zone, and the Lions start at their own 20.
Second quarter, 5:37, 24-0 Patriots: The Lions can’t do anything right. They nearly connected on a deep pass to Marvin Jones, but he was bobbling the ball while tapping his toes and twisting out of bounds. Detroit challenged, but lost. On the next play, Stafford threw into traffic over the middle. Malcolm Butler tipped the pass, and Eric Rowe sped in to pick off the pass and return it 18 yards out to midfield.
It was actually looking OK for the Lions for a brief moment there. Alas, things change quickly.
Second quarter, 9:58, 24-0 Patriots: The mighty Patriots offense … has been stopped.
Cameron Fleming allowed Antony Zettel to speed past him on the edge, giving a free path to Brady. The QB barely got off the pass, but it was affected by Zettel’s hit. Gronkowski being Gronkowski, he almost made a phenomenal catch but was unable to hang on.
On the next play, Brady had no options, so he ran up the middle before being tackled from behind well short of the first down.
Gronkowski did have a nice catch to move the sticks on a third-and-7 to kick off the drive.
Second quarter, 14:00, 24-0 Patriots: The Lions picked up a first down. But then they punted. They have been tough to watch.
Gilmore made the play on third down to force this punt, with tight coverage on Golladay up the left sideline.
First quarter, 1:00, 24-0 Patriots: A Patriots drive that doesn’t end in a touchdown? Strange. But it did end in points, as Stephen Gostkowski drilled a 46-yard field goal to stretch the lead to 24-0.
Earlier in the drive, Brady made a ridiculous play to run about 20 yards back to his right to buy time. It looked liked he was throwing it away, but he somehow connected with Hogan, who was coming back down the right sideline.
First quarter, 4:54 21-0 Patriots: So much has happened in this game, just not for the Lions. They just went three-and-out again. Adam Butler showed up by jumping up on the back of running back Theo Riddick on second down, and Stafford went short on third-and-10, forcing a punt.
Brady takes over again at the Patriots’ 35-yard line.
First quarter, 6:29, 21-0 Patriots: Another drive, another touchdown for the explosive Patriots offense.
This one went 74 yards, capped off by Mike Gillislee waltzing in untouched from the 1-yard line for the score. Amendola showed great hands to make a 32-yard catch up the right seam, followed by Rob Gronkowski drawing a second penalty on the defense.
Once James White got the Patriots to the 1-yard line, Gillislee did the rest. And, after an illegal formation penalty on Detroit on the successful PAT, Belichick decided to accept the penalty and try for two points from the 1-yard line. Again, they went to Gillislee. Again, it worked.
Brady is 6-for-7 for 122 yards and a touchdown.
First quarter, 9:37, 13-0 Patriots: The Patriots really came to play tonight, as the defense just forced a three-and-out. That was capped off by Stephon Gilmore fighting through traffic to chase down Kenny Golladay and make a diving tackle to wrap up his ankle well shy of the first down.
Cyrus Jones made a fair catch and the Patriots will start at their own 26.
First quarter, 11:30, 13-0 Patriots: That turnover turned into points rather quickly. Brady casually stood in the pocket and threw a deep ball up the left side to Hogan. Hogan was actually covered pretty tightly, and he worked through a hold by the defense, but he nevertheless made the over-the-shoulder catch while falling into the end zone. It went for a 32-yard touchdown. Impressive play.
Stephen Gostkowski, however, pulled the PAT. That’s really a problem.
Here’s a look at the Edelman injury, in case you didn’t see it:
First quarter, 11:37, 7-0 Patriots: The Patriots’ defense came to play, too. On the Lions’ first play from scrimmage, Malcolm Butler poked the ball right out of Golden Tate’s arm. Jordan Richards jumped on top, and the Patriots have the ball again.
First quarter, 11:51, 7-0 Patriots: Well aside, from the Edelman injury, that drive was a perfect one for the Patriots offense. They marched down the field in a little over three minutes, and they looked capable of living up to the hype.
Brady went 4-for-4 for 59 yards and a touchdown, which came on a 7-yard strike to Chris Hogan. Rob Gronkowski drew a defensive holding penalty. Dion Lewis ran for 11 yards. And they looked like a well-oiled machine.
Again, everything was perfect, except for the injury. But that’s a big exception. Edelman is being taken by a cart to the locker room, and he does not look like someone who just received good news in the medical tent.
First quarter, 12:45, 0-0: Tom Brady was going to Julian Edelman quite a bit on the opening series, and Edelman looked to be in midseason form. Unfortunately, he planted his right knee and suffered what appeared to be some sort of knee injury. He went down and limped off the field. That’s the last thing anyone in New England wanted to see.
Edelman was taken into the medical tent on the sideline. We await word.
First quarter, 15:00: The Patriots are going to start this game on offense.
6:38 p.m.: Here’s the full list of players who won’t be playing tonight for the Patriots.
6 p.m.: Jeff Howe says that Dont’a Hightower will not be playing tonight. It’s not too much of a surprise.
5 p.m.: It’s the famed third preseason game, the one where everyone anticipates seeing something that closely resembles real football.
And tonight, that should hold true, as Tom Brady and most of the starters are expected to see some extended playing time this evening in Detroit.
Given all of the offseason hype, last week’s debut for Brady’s high-flying offense was somewhat of a disappointment. But then again, it does feel like based on those expectations, the offense is in a position to only disappointment. In any event, it should be interesting to watch the Cooks-Gronkowski-Edelman trio spread the field for an offense that really should be the league’s best, and it’ll be worth watching to see how Mike Gillislee fits in during his first game in a Patriots uniform.
On the other side of the ball, we’ll be keeping an eye on Malcolm Butler, who looked awfully rusty last weekend in Houston. We’ll also be focused in on Kony Ealy, whose spot on the team does seem somewhat up in the air (from the outside).
There will, as always, be much more, so stay tuned here in the live blog from pregame through the final whistle for live updates and analysis.