Final, Lions 40-9: Well, this one is mercifully over for the Patriots. The team had serious issues with tackling and turnovers. Zach Sudfeld, Shane Vereen and Brandon Bolden fumbled and Tom Brady got picked off.
Duron Harmon, Jamie Collins and Justin Green had some brutal missed tackles while Joique Bell was plowing down the Ford Field turf.
Kenbrell Thompkins had a huge game and the first-team defense looked good despite being put in some tough situations. Chandler Jones, Rob Ninkovich and Tommy Kelly continue to impress in the middle of the defense. Aqib Talib has been dominant ever since allowing a 47-yard touchdown to DeSean Jackson two weeks ago. That will do it for us this evening on the live blog. Stay tuned to NESN.com for more coverage from the game.
Fourth quarter, :32, Lions 40-9: That was a better drive from Ryan Mallett, finally. The two-point conversion went off the hands of Quentin Sims.
We’ve got 32 seconds for the Lions to kneel the ball.
Fourth quarter, 2:00, Lions 40-3: This one can’t end soon enough for the Patriots. Things were looking very positive throughout the entire summer. This game has finally brought up some real issues. While the ball security likely won’t be this poor during the regular season, the team has some real depth issues along the defensive line and secondary.
Fourth quarter, 4:08, Lions 40-3: If the Patriots needed a wakeup call, this will be it. The Patriots’ first-team defense played well, but that’s pretty much it. The second-teamers have been a sieve, and the offense has had trouble moving the ball ever since Tom Brady came out of the game.
The Patriots won’t have to worry about going into the regular season with an ego.
Fourth quarter, 8:32, Lions 33-3: Patriots fans have to be shaking their heads at this Ryan Mallett performance. Frankly, he hasn’t looked much better than Tim Tebow out there. He has some serious accuracy issues that haven’t been solved in his two-plus years in the league.
If the Patriots were hoping Mallett would increase his trade value this preseason, that hasn’t been the case.
Fourth quarter, 9:25, Lions 33-3: That was not a pretty drive by the Patriots’ second-teamers. Duron Harmon missed another tackle and appeared to give up the touchdown to Michael Spurlock.
Cory Grissom was taken to the locker room with a knee injury.
End third quarter, Lions 26-3: Ryan Mallett continues to have a spotty-at-best preseason. Kenbrell Thompkins bailed him out on a couple throws by pulling in nice catches, but Mallett overthrew a few receivers, including Thompkins on the sideline and Develin in the flat.
Mallett delivered the ball on point to Dobson in the end zone, but Dobson couldn’t fend off the defensive back. He needs to get more physical with defenders. Lions ball.
Third quarter, 6:35, Lions 26-3: Another drive, another field goal by the Lions. Tavon Wilson delivered a blistering hit to Ryan Broyles on third down. It would be nice to see more of that out of Wilson.
Third quarter, 10:13, Lions 23-3: Ryan Mallett is in the game, and he started the drive poorly with a shaky incompletion to Aaron Dobson and an overthrow to Josh Boyce. Dobson’s going to need to hit the weight room hard. He has trouble separating due to his lack of strength.
Mallett really just continues to struggle. This preseason isn’t going to help his trade value.
Third quarter, 11:00, Lions 23-3: Kellen Moore and the Lions had no problem moving the ball on the Patriots’ second-team defense. Joseph Fauria beat Jamie Collins for a TD.
Joique Bell looked great on that drive for Detroit, running through multiple Patriots tackles. Duron Harmon and Justin Green came up with some especially poor attempts. The defensive line, notably Jake Bequette, didn’t do anyone any favors either.
The best defensive play was made by Steve Beauharnais on a pass breakup.
End half, Lions 16-3: The Patriots had no problem moving the ball for much of the first half, but turnovers dominated the game. The Patriots’ defense did as much as it could to hold off the Lions, but Detroit still holds a 16-3 lead.
Kenbrell Thompkins starred on offense despite a drop. Shane Vereen, Brandon Bolden and Zach Sudfeld all fumbled, while Tom Brady threw an interception on a poor route by Aaron Dobson.
Aqib Talib, Rob Ninkovich and Chandler Jones all starred on defense. We’ll see how much Brady plays in the third quarter.
Second quarter, 1:13, Lions 13-3: Once again, the Patriots’ defense steps up when it needs to.
He’s not shown it very often, because no one targets him, but Aqib Talib has been flawless this whole preseason, save for one 47-yard touchdown by DeSean Jackson.
Second quarter, 1:56, Lions 13-3: They went for it and failed. James Develin couldn’t convert on 4th and 2. Lions ball.
Second quarter, 2:00, Lions 13-3: Michael Hoomanawanui got close to a first down on 3rd and 10, but came up just short. The Patriots haven’t attempted a fourth-down conversion yet. We’ll see if they go for their first now.
Second quarter, 3:08, Lions 13-3: The Patriots’ defense just keeps bailing out the offense. Unfortunately, they were put in poor enough situations to fall into a 10-point hole.
Aqib Talib has looked great, and Chandler Jones and Rob Ninkovich are always bothering the quarterback.
Second quarter, 3:33, Lions 13-3: Kenbrell Thompkins did his best to pick up a first down, but stretched out after a screen two yards short. The Patriots’ offense continues to look sloppy. I would expect to see Brady out there for a while.
Second quarter, 5:46, Lions 13-3: Scary moment on the field when Montel Owens went down untouched with a knee injury. He coughed up the ball, which was recovered by Chandler Jones, but apparently there’s a rule that if an injured player voluntarily gives up the ball, it’s not a fumble. Good to know.
On the punt it looked like Kyle Arrington got kicked in the head. He stayed down for a few seconds.
Second quarter, Lions 13-3: Kenbrell Thompkins continues to build chemistry with Tom Brady out on the field. He shook Chris Houston out of his shoes on his big catch but couldn’t stay in bounds to take it to the house.
Stephen Gostkowski hit the field goal to put some points on the board after Brady overthrew Michael Hoomanawanui on third down.
Second quarter, 10:40, Lions 13-0: The Patriots’ defense comes up big to stop the Lions. They allowed a field goal but otherwise looked very good in a red zone situation.
Rob Ninkovich came up with a few nice plays, and Tommy Kelly continues to get pressure up the middle.
Second quarter, 11:38, Lions 10-0: Welp. This one is ugly.
Shane Vereen fumbled, giving the Lions the ball in the Patriots territory yet again. Will Svitek was back out at right guard for Dan Connolly, who was only in for one drive.
Second quarter, 13:00, Lions 10-0: Well, the Patriots replaced most of their starters, and the Lions moved the ball easily. That touchdown to Tony Scheffler looked like it was on Steve Gregory, who didn’t pick up the big tight end.
Second quarter, 14:21, Lions 3-0: Well, Tom Brady and the Patriots’ offense are showing that they’re mortal. Brady threw a pick when Aaron Dobson couldn’t get to his spot on time. He got knocked around by the Detroit defense. Dobson’s lack of strength has shown up a few times this summer.
End first quarter, Lions 3-0: The Patriots’ first quarter was highlighted by some costly fumbles, but it’s not a bad idea to get those out of the way now before the games count. Brady shook his hand after a completion to Thompkins, so I guess that’s something to monitor. My guess is that he’s fine.
The Patriots’ defense has been good outside of the big Reggie Bush run. Thompkins has been solid despite his 3rd-and-2 drop.
First quarter, 1:41, Lions 3-0: Put in a tough spot after Bolden’s fumble, the Patriots’ defense held strong.
Tommy Kelly continues to show his dominance rushing up the middle as he sacked Matthew Stafford.
The Lions missed their field goal, so it’s Patriots ball again.
First quarter, 3:22, Lions 3-0: Brandon Bolden had two nice runs to start the drive, but then fumbled after a Tom Brady check down. That’s not going to help in the positional battle with LeGarrette Blount.
First quarter, 4:22, Lions 3-0: Thanks to a big Rob Ninkovich run stop and some lack of awareness from Tony Scheffler, the Patriots are getting the ball back. Leon Washington was out for the punt return, so he is getting some reps.
Jamie Collins continued to get reps with the base defense, and Jerod Mayo came in for nickel.
First quarter, Lions 3-0: I was just going to say it’s obvious Tom Brady trusts Thompkins, and then he drops Brady’s pass on 3rd and 2. It’s still a good sign that Brady trusted him, and he did a nice job getting open.
First quarter, Lions 3-0: The Lions drove down the field thanks to a giant play by Reggie Bush. Jerod Mayo overpursued on the screen and it was all Bush from there.
We saw an interesting mix of starters with Joe Vellano in for Vince Wilfork, Jamie Collins for Jerod Mayo and Steve Gregory for Adrian Wilson. Mayo came in later, as did Adrian Wilson in nickel. Marcus Forston replaced Tommy Kelly during the drive, as well.
The Lions went up 3-0 on a field goal.
First quarter, 0-0: Zach Sudfeld made a great catch on an even better throw from Tom Brady, but the rookie tight end fumbled, which you hate to see.
It was a great opening drive for Kenbrell Thompkins, who did a nice job tracking the ball in the air from Brady. It wasn’t the best opening drive for Stevan Ridley or Logan Mankins. Ridley got nowhere in the run game and couldn’t grab a swing pass from Brady. Mankins let Ndamukong Suh get through and got a false start penalty.
7:36 p.m.: The Patriots won the toss and will receive for the second week in a row.
7:29 p.m.: This game’s just about ready get started. Expect to see a lot of Tom Brady tonight. I’ve said it multiple times, but keep a close watch on the rookie wide receivers. They’re all exciting and at least one of them is due for a huge game. My bet is on Kenbrell Thompkins.
7:02 p.m.: Here are the players not spotted during warmups, per Jeff Howe of the Boston Herald: Mark Harrison, Kamar Aiken, Ras-I Dowling, Brandon Jones, Alfonzo Dennard, Nate Ebner, Marcus Cannon, Danny Amendola, Daniel Fells, Rob Gronkowski, Justin Francis, Jermaine Cunningham and Armond Armstead. Ebner was the only player expected to play who won’t.
6:46 p.m.: The Patriots have put out “feelers” about available tight ends, according to Chris Mortensen of ESPN’s NFL Insiders. With a lack of depth on the roster, and Daniel Fells’ lingering injury, it’s possible the Patriots are just doing their due diligence. If Rob Gronkowski has to start the season on the PUP, the Patriots would likely still want to have four healthy tight ends. If Fells is not healthy, Evan Landi likely won’t do the trick.
There are multiple reports that Devin McCourty is out on the field in uniform. That means we’ll get to see the starting safety in a game for the first time this preseason. He has looked good in practice.
6:02 p.m.: Calvin Johnson will not be playing tonight after saying earlier this week that he would.
Calvin seem to pullup a tad on 1 of his routes in w/u. Got stretched after. Stafford came over. I asked if he's playing, shook his head no.—
Josina Anderson (@JosinaAnderson) August 22, 2013
It would have been a really nice test for Aqib Talib, who has already had to match up against DeSean Jackson (who beat him for a long touchdown) and Vincent Jackson, who Talib handled perfectly.
5:17 p.m.: Jeff Howe reports that Dan Connolly has made the trip to Detroit. He should be all set to start at right guard between Ryan Wendell and Sebastian Vollmer.
We’ll also likely see Markus Zusevics and Devin McCourty for the first time this preseason, though we’ll await word on whether they have also made the trip.
5:10 p.m.: We’re under three hours from game time, so here are some positional battles we’ll be watching:
Bolden vs. Blount: I believe Bolden is firmly in the front seat here since he’s quicker, hits his holes more decisively and is much more valuable on special teams. That angers some Patriots fans after Blount’s big run in the first preseason game, but simply put, Bolden is more valuable, he’s the better goal-line back and he’s the better backup behind Stevan Ridley.
There’s the slight chance Leon Washington gets the boot over either of these guys, but that’s unlikely. Washington is a good backup to Shane Vereen and is the best kick returner on the team. The Patriots could also carry all five backs, but Ridley, Vereen, Bolden and Washington are sufficient in my mind.
Michael Hoomanwanui vs. James Devlin: These two players are similar, but at the same time opposites. Hoomanwanui is a tight end who can play fullback, while Develin is a fullback who can play tight end. If you want to simplify it, they’re both fighting for a spot on the roster as an H-back.
Develin got the start last week after missing the first game of the preseason. Hoomanawanui got plenty of chances at fullback against the Eagles. Hoomanwanui offers more versatility and is a much better pass-catching option.
Kenbrell Thompkins vs. Aaron Dobson vs. Josh Boyce vs. Julian Edelman: All four of these players will likely make the 53-man roster, so this is more of a starter battle than a roster battle. But with Amendola likely out of the game, this will be a perfect opportunity to settle this competition once and for all. It looks like Thompkins is the guy to start at the “X” receiver spot opposite Amendola, but Dobson, Boyce or even Edelman could make a last-second push.
Boyce and Amendola are probably better in the “Z” or slot positions, so starting them in either a 12 or 21 personnel grouping (meaning two wide receivers) with Amendola might mean a lot of passes into the middle of the field, but we’ve seen stranger things from the Patriots. Boyce can certainly play the X, but at 5-foot-11, he doesn’t have elite size for the position, and I haven’t seen much from him during camp as a deep option.
Thompkins can play all three spots, and he was playing almost exclusively in the X in the last preseason game. As a primer, the X receiver lines up on the line of scrimmage on the opposite side of the tight end. The Z lines up a step back from the line on the same side as the tight end. During three-receiver sets, the slot lines up on the same side as the X.
8 a.m. ET: The Patriots’ rookie wide receivers will get plenty of time to work with Tom Brady against the Lions.
Brady will likely play into the third quarter, since this marks the all-important third preseason game. Danny Amendola will likely miss the game due to injury after being out of Monday and Tuesday’s practices with an undisclosed injury. That will give plenty of time for rookies Josh Boyce, Aaron Dobson and Kenbrell Thompkins to continue to get acquainted with Brady.
Julian Edelman will also see plenty of snaps with Brady due to Amendola’s injury. Edelman has played just four snaps with Brady so far this preseason.
Other than Amendola, Rob Gronkowski (PUP), Mark Harrison (non-football injury), Armond Armstead (non-football illness), Brandon Jones and Jermaine Cunningham were not spotted at Tuesday’s practice and will likely not play. Ras-I Dowling, Alfonzo Dennard, Marcus Cannon, Daniel Fells, Justin Francis and Kamar Aiken were off on the side field working with trainers, so they likely won’t suit up for tonight’s game either.
Devin McCourty, Dan Connolly and Markus Zusevics have yet to suit up for a preseason game, and all three players are expected to be out on the field Thursday night. Connolly will get a jump on Cannon for the starting role at right guard by getting into a preseason game sooner.
It will be interesting to watch the Patriots’ safeties with McCourty back in the lineup. His communication with Adrian Wilson will be key this season. Steve Gregory will also likely be mixed into the starting unit.
With Dennard and Dowling out again, Logan Ryan will continue to get plenty of looks at cornerback — both in the slot and outside. Kyle Arrington was praising Ryan for how quickly he’s picked up the nuances of the defense in his short time in Foxboro. Arrington will likely start across from Aqib Talib.
Here are our projected starters for the Patriots:
RB: Stevan Ridley
WR: Thompkins, Boyce
TE: Zach Sudfeld, Jake Ballard
OL: Nate Solder, Logan Mankins, Ryan Wendell, Connolly, Sebastian Vollmer
DE: Chandler Jones, Rob Ninkovich
DT: Vince Wilfork, Tommy Kelly
LB: Jerod Mayo, Brandon Spikes, Dont’a Hightower
CB: Talib, Arrington
S: McCourty, Wilson
We’ll keep you updated on all the latest news of the day. The game will kick off at 7:30 p.m.