Final, Lions 26-10: After losing to the Jacksonville Jaguars in an AFC Championship Game rematch last week, the New England Patriots suffered another humbling defeat Sunday night at Ford Field.
Matt Patricia’s Detroit Lions pulverized the visiting Patriots, dominating on both sides of the ball to drop the Patriots to 1-2 for the first time since 2012.
The Lions outgained the Patriots 159-89 on the ground, 262-133 through the air and 414-255 overall, recording 25 first downs to New England’s 12.
Quarterback Tom Brady completed just 14 of 26 passes for 133 yards and one touchdown with one interception. Patriots receivers combined to catch just five passes, with Phillip Dorsett finishing without one on six targets.
Next up for the Patriots is a home matchup with the AFC East-leading Miami Dolphins, who sit at 3-0 after beating the Oakland Raiders on Sunday.
Fourth quarter, 3:16, Lions 23-10: That will just about do it.
The Patriots went four-and-out, with Brady taking a sack on second down and firing incomplete deep to Phillip Dorsett on third and fourth. Dorsett suffered an injury on the second incompletion and had to be helped off the field by members of the training staff.
Fourth quarter, 4:36, Lions 23-10: Lions punt. Patriots ball with less than five minutes to play.
Kerryon Johnson surpassed 100 rushing yards on Detroit’s last drive, making him the first Lions player to do so since Reggie Bush on Thanksgiving 2013.
Fourth quarter, 7:23, Lions 23-10: Tom Brady heaved up a deep ball that easily was intercepted by Lions cornerback Darius Slay. There’s the lowlight of an all-around frustrating night for the Patriots quarterback.
Phillip Dorsett, whom the pass was intended for, didn’t make much of a play on it, either.
Fourth quarter, 9:18, Lions 23-10: The Patriots finally forced their first punt of the night. The Lions went three-and-out.
New England now has just over nine minutes to close a 13-point gap.
Fourth quarter, 11:02, Lions 23-10: More woes for the Patriots’ offense.
Tom Brady was flagged for intentional grounding after an apparent miscommunication caused him to hurl a pass 30 yards beyond his deepest receiver. Two plays later, he was sacked for the first time, forcing the Patriots to punt for the fifth time.
The Lions have not punted once.
Fourth quarter, 12:44, Lions 23-10: Another long Lions drive yields a field goal.
Kerryon Johnson and LeGarrette Blount continue to give the Patriots’ defense fits, gashing through massive holes to the tune of 5.6 yards per carry. Johnson has been especially productive, racking up 86 yards on 12 carries thus far.
Speaking of running backs, Rex Burkhead was taken to the Patriots’ locker room. He’s being evaluated for a neck injury, per the team.
Third quarter, 1:58, Lions 20-10: After getting points on each of their last two drives, the Patriots went three-and-out, with Sony Michel dropping a pass on second down that likely would have moved the chains.
This has not been a banner night for Michel.
Third quarter, 3:45, Lions 20-10: The Patriots’ latest defensive possession started positively with a sack by Deatrich Wise, but they couldn’t prevent the Lions from putting another touchdown on the board.
Detroit converted three third downs, including a third-and-9, before Matthew Stafford and Marvin Jones hooked up for a 33-yard touchdown. Jones beat Stephon Gilmore, who has allowed both Lions touchdowns tonight.
Gilmore could have been expecting help over the top from free safety Duron Harmon.
Third quarter, 10:03, Lions 13-10: The Patriots quickly made the Lions pay for Matthew Stafford’s interception.
A 12-yard run by Sony Michel and a 19-yard completion to Rob Gronkowski set up a gorgeous 10-yard touchdown pass from Brady to James White on third-and-8 from the 10.
Brady has been at his best tonight when Gronkowski, White or Rex Burkhead is involved.
Third quarter, 13:34, Lions 13-3: Ja’Whaun Bentley opened the second half with the first big play of the day for the Patriots’ defense, intercepting a deep pass down the middle that was intended for tight end Luke Willson.
It was the second interception by a Patriots linebacker in the last two weeks.
The Patriots will take over at their own 48-yard line.
Halftime, Lions 13-3: That’s the half. Even after two miserable quarters, the Patriots trail by just 10.
Second quarter, 0:40, Lions 13-3: Introducing Rob Gronkowski into the game plan provided the Patriots’ offense with the spark it so desperately needed.
Gronkowski, who wasn’t targeted during New England’s first three series, caught two passes on two targets for 24 yards on the Patriots’ latest drive, giving the team its first two first downs of the night. Rex Burkhead also had a 19-yard catch to pick up another first.
The Patriots were forced to settle for a field goal, though, after Sony Michel was stopped for a 2-yard loss on third-and-1. It’s been tough sledding again tonight for the first-round draft pick.
Second quarter, 5:02, Lions 13-0: If you’re looking for a silver lining in this Patriots performance, they’ve held the Lions to field goals on two of their three possessions. That’s about the only remotely positive thing you can say about New England’s defense right now.
On their latest possession, Detroit marched 71 yards in 14 plays before eventually settling for three points. The Patriots inserted both of their rookie cornerbacks (J.C. Jackson and Keion Crossen), then sent both back to the bench after Crossen allowed a 16-yard reception to Marvin Jones on third-and-7 and Jackson was whistled for defensive holding.
Matthew Stafford is 14 of 18 for 115 yards and a touchdown so far. On the ground, the Patriots have no answer for rookie Kerryon Johnson, who has 54 yards on seven carries.
The Lions have 14 first downs. The Patriots have 13 total yards.
Second quarter, 12:26, Lions 10-0: Rex Burkhead had a nice 7-yard gain on a swing pass, but the Patriots went three-and-out for the third time in as many drives.
New England is trying to ride rookie running back Sony Michel with little success. Michel has 6 yards on five touches so far tonight.
Rookie cornerback J.C. Jackson replaced Jason McCourty as the Patriots’ defense returned to the field. This is Jackson’s first NFL game.
Second quarter, 13:53, Lions 10-0: The Lions’ second possession played out much like their first. This time, though, Detroit was able to find the end zone.
After driving deep into Patriots territory, Matthew Stafford hit wide receiver Kenny Golladay for a 4-yard touchdown. Referees initially ruled Stephon Gilmore had prevented Golladay from breaking the plane, but that was overturned after Matt Patricia challenged the play.
The Patriots are getting manhandled on both sides of the ball so far tonight, as these first-quarter stats illustrate:
The Patriots’ defense really misses Trey Flowers and Patrick Chung. They’ve been unable to generate any sort of pass rush, and they’ve been awful against the run thus far.
First quarter, 4:53, Lions 3-0: Another three-and-out for the Patriots, this one even uglier than the first.
Sony Michel was dragged down for a loss of 1 on first down, and Phillip Dorsett followed with back-to-back drops. Tom Brady’s second throw was high, but it hit Dorsett in the hands.
Not a good start for this Patriots offense.
First quarter, 5:55, Lions 3-0: The Lions moved the ball with ease on their opening possession, picking up four first downs before facing their first third down.
Matthew Stafford’s pass to Golden Tate fell 1 yard shy of the marker on third-and-5, however, and Matt Patricia opted to kick a field goal on fourth-and-1. Old friend LeGarrette Blount carried four times for 16 yards on the drive and added a 9-yard reception.
With Trey Flowers inactive tonight, linebacker Kyle Van Noy is lining up as an edge rusher for the Patriots opposite Adrian Clayborn.
Slot cornerback Jonathan Jones had a nice pass breakup against Tate but then allowed an 18-yard reception to the wideout one play later.
First quarter, 13:44, 0-0: The Patriots benefited from an excellent kick return by Cordarrelle Patterson but opened the game with a three-and-out.
Starting running back Sony Michel carried for 5 and 1 yards, and Tom Brady threw behind Chris Hogan on third down.
First quarter, 15:00, 0-0: The Lions won the opening coin toss and chose to defer. The Patriots will get the ball first as we kick things off here at Ford Field.
7:45 p.m.: Some observations from warmups:
— Stephon Gilmore and Jason McCourty are the starting cornerbacks with Eric Rowe sidelined.
— Cyrus Jones lined up at safety with the second unit during warmups.
— Marcus Cannon is back in his usual starting spot at right tackle.
— Josh Gordon is on the field in sweats. He chatted with Bill Belichick for about a minute, then watched warmups alongside wide receivers coach Chad O’Shea.
6:51 p.m.: Josh Gordon will NOT make his Patriots debut tonight. He officially is inactive.
No other surprises on the inactive list:
Defensive end Derek Rivers and cornerbacks J.C. Jackson and Keion Crossen all are active and will make their NFL debuts. Offensive tackle Marcus Cannon also is active after sitting out last week with a calf injury.
The Lions’ star cornerback, Darius Slay, is active, but their top pass rusher, Ezekiel Ansah, is not.
6:31 p.m.: #GordonWatch update: He’s now warming up with players who certainly will be active tonight. Inactives are announced at 6:50 p.m., so we’ll know in less than 20 minutes whether he’ll suit up.
6:22 p.m.: Josh Gordon has begun warming up in earnest, stretching with offensive linemen Brian Schwenke and Cole Croston and rookie cornerback Duke Dawson. He and Jack Easterby worked together for about 25 minutes before this, interspersing light route-running with 1-on-1 conversations.
For those who don’t know much about Easterby, who serves as New England’s character coach and team chaplain, USA Today published an interesting profile on him during Super Bowl week. He was hired in the wake of Aaron Hernandez’s arrest for murder and helps players and coaches alike deal with various off-the-field matters.
It’s no surprise the Patriots are having Easterby work closely with Gordon, who has dealt with serious mental health and substance abuse issues for much of his career.
Gordon also spent five or 10 minutes talking with rookie QB Danny Etling near midfield.
It’s noteworthy that Dawson made this trip, as he’s currently on injured reserve and can’t play until Week 9.
5:53 p.m.: Josh Gordon is in the house. The wideout has spent the last 10 minutes chatting and playing catch with Jack Easterby, the Patriots’ character coach and team chaplain.
It’s still unclear whether Gordon will play tonight. He appears to be moving well but hasn’t gone through any strenuous warmups yet.
Lingering nearby was practice squad quarterback Danny Etling, who traveled with the team for the second consecutive week.
5:38 p.m.: The scene inside Ford Field just under three hours before kickoff:
12:20 p.m.: A few updates on Josh Gordon:
11 a.m. ET: Good morning from Detroit, where the 1-1 New England Patriots are preparing to take on the 0-2 Detroit Lions on “Sunday Night Football.”
The Patriots’ matchup with former defensive coordinator-turned-Lions head coach Matt Patricia has been a major storyline this week, as has New England’s trade for troubled wide receiver Josh Gordon.
It remains unclear, however, whether Gordon, who’s listed as questionable, will suit up tonight. The former Cleveland Browns star was limited in each of the Patriots’ three practices this week with a hamstring injury and will be a game-time decision, according to a report from NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport.
Tight end Jacob Hollister (chest), defensive end Trey Flowers (concussion), safety Patrick Chung (concussion) and cornerback Eric Rowe (groin) all have been ruled out, meaning we should see some new faces on defense for the Patriots.
It’s likely defensive end Derek Rivers and cornerback J.C. Jackson will make their NFL debuts after sitting out the last two weeks as healthy scratches, and corner Keion Crossen could, as well, though he’s listed as questionable with a hamstring injury.
We also will see the return of Cyrus Jones, whom the Patriots re-signed off the Baltimore Ravens practice squad this week. Expect Jones, whom the Patriots released on cutdown day earlier this month, to handle punt return duties with Chung sidelined and Julian Edelman suspended. He could see snaps as a slot cornerback or safety, as well.
Offensive tackle Marcus Cannon, who sat out last week’s loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars with a calf injury, is listed as questionable but did make the trip to Detroit.
Tight end Rob Gronkowski, whom the Patriots reportedly considered trading to the Lions this past offseason, was removed from the injury report Friday and will play tonight. He’ll be looking to bounce back from an underwhelming performance against the Jaguars, who held him to two catches on four targets for 15 yards.
Elsewhere on offense, rookie running back Sony Michel is a threat to put up big numbers against a Lions defense that has been dreadful at defending the run this season. Michel rushed 10 times for 34 yards last Sunday in his NFL debut.
Kickoff is set for 8:20 p.m. ET at Ford Field, but be sure to check back here throughout the day for full pregame coverage.
Thumbnail photo via Tim Fuller/USA TODAY Sports Images