By LARRY LAGE , AP Sports Writer
DETROIT (AP) — Matt Patricia beat mentor Bill Belichick, seemingly making all the right moves to help the Detroit Lions deafeated the New England Patriots 26-10 Sunday night.
“I’m sure it meant a lot, his first win as a head coach,” Detroit quarterback Matthew Stafford said. “Probably no sweeter than to do it against your old team.
“We needed this one.”
The Lions (1-2) suddenly looked like a team with a plan on offense and defense under their first-year coach, and former New England assistant. They opened the season with a 31-point loss to the New York Jets at home and fell short in a comeback at San Francisco.
The Patriots (1-2) have had weaknesses exposed on both sides of the ball, losing two of their first three games for the first time since 2012.
Detroit was in control from the start, creating holes for rookie running back Kerryon Johnson and giving Matthew Stafford time to pass.
Johnson had 101 yards rushing on 16 carries, becoming the first player to reach the mark for the Lions since Reggie Bush ran for 117 yards against Green Bay on Nov. 28, 2013. Detroit’s 70-game stretch without a 100-yard rusher was the longest since the NFL-AFL merger.
Tom Brady pulled the Patriots within three points on a 10-yard TD pass to James White early in the third.
Detroit refused to let the five-time Super Bowl-winning quarterback get any closer.
Stafford responded with a 33-yard TD pass, capping a 10-play, 75-yard drive that took more than 6 minutes off the clock.
Darius Slay picked off Brady’s pass at the Detroit 15 midway through the fourth quarter, helping the Lions seal the win.
Stafford was 27 of 36 for 262 yards with two touchdowns and an interception. Brady was 12 of 24 for 113 yards with a touchdown and an interception.
Detroit ran the play clock down often in the second half, seemingly choosing to shorten the game and keep Brady off the field.
Fans booed at Ford Field when Patricia chose to kick a 38-yard field goal instead of going for it on fourth-and-1.
“Any points against a team like that is going to be a good thing,” Stafford said. “We had a positive drive and you would hate to come away from it with no points.”
Patriots: WR Josh Gordon (hamstring) was inactive, delaying his New England debut, after warming up with teammates. S Patrick Chung and DE Trey Flowers were inactive because of concussions. RB Rex Burkhead left the game in the second half with a neck injury.
Lions: DE Ezekiel Ansah (shoulder) was inactive.
Patriots: Hosts the AFC-East leading Miami Dolphins (3-0).
Lions: Play at Dallas (1-2).
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