Sunday’s win over the New England Patriots was shocking in so many ways. Overall, the Detroit Lions looked like a completely different teams from the previous weeks. Several fans, myself very much included, had counted the Lions out not only for this game but for much of the season, seeing as they didn’t look competent throughout the preseason and the first two weeks of the season.
But against the Patriots—the freakin’ Patriots—the Lions managed to quickly put it all together and not only look competent, but capable of dominating an opponent. While a very small portion of fans can brag they saw this coming—looking at you, Hamza—no one saw it happening like this.
So today’s Question of the Day is:
What was the biggest surprise from Sunday’s win over the Patriots?
My answer: No question, it has to be the performance of the Lions’ pass defense. In my On Paper preview, I gave the Patriots and Tom Brady a +3 advantage (out of 5) against the Lions pass defense—the biggest advantage in the entire matchup. Granted, I thought Darius Slay was going to be out at that point, but even if he was in, I would’ve tilted the scales in New England’s favor.
Instead, the Lions held Tom Brady to one of the most poor performances of Tom Brady’s career. Just check out some of these insane stats:
Tom Brady's 5.12 yards per attempt vs. #Lions was his lowest since Week 17 of 2014.— Pride of Detroit (@PrideOfDetroit) September 24, 2018
#Lions defense held the Patriots to 209 net yards of offense, the fewest the team has allowed since holding the Giants to 197 total yards 9/8/14.— Detroit Lions (@Lions) September 24, 2018
This is only the third time since 2007 that the Patriots have produced fewer than 210 yards of total offense. pic.twitter.com/aHskTCuA2i
The performance of the secondary (and linebackers) in coverage was absolutely outstanding, considering Brady often had plenty of time to find an open receiver. He rare found one, though, and Detroit shut down an offense in a way we haven’t seen since the Lions’ top-tier 2014 defense. After the Lions let Sam Darnold and Jimmy Garoppolo stunt all over them in the first two weeks, color me absolutely shocked.