The Detroit Lions have a win, y’all and the 2018 season ain’t quite over yet. Detroit left Sunday night a winner over the New England Patriots, 26-10. Let’s get to the recap.
The game got off to an inauspicious start, as the Lions allowed another big kickoff return to the Patriots’ 42-yard line, but the defense stepped up big with a quick three-and-out.
The Lions offense came out looking efficient and balanced. Six passing attempts, five rushing attempts and the Lions got themselves into field goal range, despite the fact the Patriots were calling out Detroit’s plays again:
Patriots defense audibly yells out the play before it happens. pic.twitter.com/BkPYKNlM92— Jordan Dajani™ (@JDnumba3) September 24, 2018
Unfortunately, a third-and-5 play came up a half-yard short, and Matt Patricia elected to kick a field goal. Lions 3-0.
After another three-and-out from the Patriots thanks to an bad overthrow from Tom Brady, the Lions offense had a chance to extend their lead. Again, a balanced attack worked the Lions deep into Patriots territory, this time into the red zone. By the end of the first quarter, Detroit got themselves first-and-goal from the Patriots’ 9. Look at these first quarter stats:
Lions yards: 126
Patriots yards: 5
After a sick run from Kerryon Johnson, Matthew Stafford connected with Kenny Golladay for a catch that was originally ruled short of the goal line. However, Patricia, with a cannon of an arm, threw the challenge flag and replay confirmed Golladay had scored. 10-0 Lions
Stop me if you’ve heard this before, but the Lions defense responded with... another... three-and-out. The Lions were primed for good field position, but a block in the back penalty pushed them back to their own 22-yard line.
That didn’t stop the Lions offense from steadily driving down the field yet again. Thanks to solid rushes from Johnson and this wild play from Stafford:
Even when the Patriots get pressure on Stafford....it turns into a positive gain for the Lions LMAO! This is brutal right now pic.twitter.com/k8PUJnaejU— New Account (@ftbeard_17) September 24, 2018
But the Lions’ drive stalled in the red zone, and Detroit settled for a chip shot field goal. 13-0 Lions
The Patriots would finally get theirs in the ensuing possession, but the Lions defense made a key stop on third-and-short, holding Brady and the Patriots to a field goal. The Lions had 40 seconds to answer, but ran out of time as they were crossing into Patriots territory, so the teams went into the locker room with a score of 13-3 Lions.
The Lions have been notoriously bad horrible in the third quarter this year, and Sunday night appeared to be no different. On the Lions first possession, Stafford forced a ball towards Luke Willson and was picked off by linebacker Ja’Whaun Bentley, giving the Patriots the ball around midfield.
New England quickly worked their way into the red zone, and although the Lions stiffened up there, Brady laid a beautiful pass into the arms of James White for the score, and suddenly the Lions were only up three. Lions 13, Patriots 10.
But the Lions weren’t going to let the third quarter narrative ruin them this week. Detroit responded with another long drive—10 plays, 75 yards—culminating in a huge 33-yard strike to Marvin Jones Jr. on just a perfectly executed play:
Lions 20, Patriots 10.
The Lions defense held strong yet again, and the Lions offense wasted no time getting into field goal position as the game turned to the fourth quarter.
The Lions had a chance to go up three possession, driving into the Patriots’ red zone, but Detroit had to again settled for a field goal, pushing Detroit lead to 23-10 with just under 13 minutes remaining. Lions 23, Patriots 10.
After an intentional grounding penalty on first down, Brady couldn’t pull the Patriots out of the hole. A third-down coverage sack produced the Lions defense’s fourth three-and-out of the day. But the Lions offense turned out their first three-and-out of the game and punted right back—their first punt of the game. The Lions’ lead held at 13 with 9:18 to go.
You can never count out Touchdown Tom, and the fact that the Lions had been settling for field goals was worrisome. But Brady made a big mistake on the next drive, trying to connect on a long play. You never target Darius Slay deep, and Slay made him pay with his first interception of the year. The Lions took over at their own 19-yard line with 7:23 to go.
The Lions couldn’t get much going on offense, but most importantly, on a third-and-long the Lions ran a draw play, and it HAPPENED.
The Lions defense stepped up again, basically putting away the game with a four-and-out, and the party was on.
A Lions holding penalty gave the Patriots an extra 40 seconds to work with, but Detroit tacked on a field goal and pushed it to a 16-point lead. 26-10 Lions.
THE LIONS GOT A WIN AND A 100-YARD RUSHER. LIFE IS GOOD AGAIN.
The Lions kick off against the New England Patriots in just a few hours. The inactives have been announced and the Lions are nearing full health. T.J. Lang returns after missing last week, Darius Slay is active despite suffering a concussion last week, but Ezekiel Ansah remains sidelined due to a shoulder injury from Week 1.
The Patriots are beat up, missing three starters on defense, and their newest headlining addition, wide receiver Josh Gordon, will not play Sunday night.
Earlier in the day, the Packers and Vikings both dropped games, giving the Lions a prime opportunity to gain ground in the NFC North after dropping their first two games of the season. But the Patriots are looking for a rebound tonight, too, so don’t expect Bill Belichick to roll over for his former employee Matt Patricia.
It’s not quite do-or-die season for the Detroit Lions, but it’s pretty much do-or-die season for the Detroit Lions. Sitting at 0-2, the local fans are bumming, confidence in the team’s general manager is at an all-time low, and another loss would essentially bury any hopes of playoffs and it’s not even October yet.
Unfortunately for Matt Patricia and the Lions, the New England Patriots are in town, and Tom Brady is not happy. New England looked like a shell of themselves last week, as the Jacksonville Jaguars got their revenge from last year’s AFC Championship game. However, the Patriots are notorious for their ability to bounce back from losses with Bill Belichick at the helm.
So with Patricia looking to avoid an 0-3 start to his head coaching career, and his mentor on the other sideline looking to avoid a second-straight embarrassing loss, who will come out victorious on “Sunday Night Football?”
Here’s how to catch the game:
How to watch Lions-Patriots
Date: Sunday, September 23, 2018
Time: 8:20 p.m. ET
Location: Ford Field—Detroit, MI
Nationally televised: NBC
Announcers: Al Michaels, Cris Collinsworth, Michele Tafoya
Online streaming: NBC Sports
National radio: Westwood One
National radio announcers: Kevin Kugler, Mike Mayock
Local radio: WJR-AM NEWS TALK 760
Radio announcers: Dan Miller, Lomas Brown
Odds: Patriots by 7