Patriots Preseason Game Three: Did That Really Happen?

Kenbrell Thompkins catching a pass against Detroit.

Kenbrell Thompkins catching a pass against Detroit.

The 2013 season was generally a positive one before your New England Patriots took the field in Detroit last night. Then the first half happened. The players – this means you, offense – will hope to forget it but that won’t happen because Bill Belichick won’t stop telling them how awful it looked. Bill, it was way worse.

Tom Brady agreed.

Losing 16-3 to Detroit at the half is ugly. One interception. Two sacks. Three fumbles. Zach Sudfeld, Brandon Bolden and Shane Vereen. Stop it. Stevan Ridley, Vereen and Bolden got nowhere running the ball. Brady (16-24, 185 yards) was decent, if you ignore the sacks and the interception. Yes, I know those aren’t entirely Brady’s fault.

If you’re looking for positive takeaways from last night’s stinkfest, well, Kenbrell Thompkins might be your best bet. He stepped his game up to be the top offensive target for Brady with Danny Amendola sitting out the game. He caught eight passes for 116 yards.

The defensive performance is best described as a glass half-empty/half-full one. Even in a game that doesn’t count against the Lions, just reading a 40-9 final score hurts. In the first half, however, it was the team’s defense that kept Detroit close. As Belichick described it, the defense played “competitively” in the first half. The Lions converted four turnovers into 16 points as the Patriots forced three David Akers’ kicks and allowed just one TD. As for the second half, the defense sank to the level the offense went to in the first half.

Tim Tebow didn’t play as Ryan Mallett played the entire second half. Mallett looked decent during the team’s lone scoring drive. But, he directed just one scoring drive in an entire half. He’s not a starter. How effective will he be if he ever plays when it counts?

One other observation…Detroit’s frontline seemed to make a point of, well, trying to intimidate Brady. Nick Fairley and Ndamukong Suh each gave TB12 shoves at the conclusion of plays. Willie Young got flagged for taunting Brady. I think it’s a bad sign when a team allows their best player to be pushed around. Bill should have the offensive line watch a Bruins game to learn how to respond to situations like that.

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