In week three of the 2017 NFL Preseason, the Detroit Lions (2-0-0) took on the defending Super Bowl Champion New England Patriots (0-2-0) at Ford Field.
Patriots dominate 1st Quarter
The Patriots got out to an early lead after Tom Brady capped off an 80-yard drive with a seven-yard touchdown pass to Chris Hogan. On the Lions ensuing drive, Golden Tate fumbled his caught pass after being hit by Malcolm Butler, who eventually recovered the fumble for New England.
After getting the ball back, Brady connected with Hogan yet again on a 32-yard touchdown pass to give the Patriots an early 13-0 lead after the PAT attempt was failed. After the kick, Detroit came out for a second drive and the struggles continued as the Patriots defense forced a three-and-out.
Penalties were a killer for Detroit in this one, after a second pass interference call that put the Patriots within the five-yard line, Brady handed the ball off to running back Mike Gillislee who got past the Lions defense and scored a one-yard touchdown to put New England up 19-0 with 6:29 left in the first quarter. After another penalty on the PAT attempt, the ball was placed on the one-yard line where the Patriots offense came out and successfully converted a two-point conversion after another one-yard rush by Gillisee, pushing the score to 21-0.
After allowing three touchdowns on three drives, the Lions defense was finally able to make a stop on third down and force New England to kick a field goal, which was good to extend their lead to 24-0.
The Lions were able to get their first first down of the game after Matthew Stafford completed a 14-yard pass to running back Ameer Abdullah. After a negative one-yard run by Abdullah, the first quarter ended and the scoreboard did not look good for Detroit, down 24-0.
Lions strike back in 2nd Quarter
At the start of quarter number two the Lions were unable to get another first down and were forced to punt yet again.
Detroit’s defense seemed lost in this game, but after finally getting a break and making some good plays, they were finally able to force New England to punt the ball away. The Lions offense stormed onto the field in hopes of putting some points on the board. A drive that seemed to look promising after some good plays made by Stafford and Abdullah, was put to halt after a tipped pass was intercepted by New England’s Eric Rowe and returned for 18-yards.
Brady and his offense would take the field once again and after four plays, Glover Quinn intercepted the ball in the end zone, resulting in the first turnover of the game for the Lions defense. Back-to-back stops by the defense seemed to give Detroit confidence. On the ensuing drive, the Lions drove 80-yards down the field to cut the lead to 24-7 after a Matthew Stafford 23-yard touchdown pass to Marvin Jones Jr. Stafford went four for four with 70-yards on that drive. The Patriots offense would come back out onto the field led by Jimmy Garoppolo this time and would run two running plays to end the half. The score at halftime was 24-7, Patriots.
Lions claw closer in 3rd Quarter
At the start of second half, Detroit would receive the kick and start the third quarter with the offense on the field. Stafford and his offense came to play on their first drive of the half, an 88-yard drive was capped off with an 18-yard touchdown pass to running back Dwayne Washington, cutting New Englands lead to 24-14.
Detroit’s defense knew that they had to continue what they did over the previous two drives, and they did just that. They came out and played a perfect series which forced the Patriots to punt out of their own end zone. Jake Rudock would lead the Lions onto the field on their next drive, ending the night for Matthew Stafford who went 15/22 for 190 yards, two touchdowns, and an interception. On Rudock’s first drive, he led the team down the field going four for six with 38-yards and a touchdown pass to receiver Jared Abbrederis to push the score to 24-21 Patriots.
After giving up 24 points in the first quarter to New England, the Detroit defense began to finally play with some fire, forcing a turnover and multiple punts on the next few drives the Patriots had. Going into the fourth quarter, a team that was once down by 24 points, was now a field goal away from tying the game.
Lions come up short after taking lead in the 4th Quarter
With 7:27 left in the fourth quarter, the Lions took their first lead of the game after Rudock and the offense drove down the field to take a 28-24 lead after Washington punched in a one-yard rushing touchdown. On the Patriots next drive, Garoppolo led his team down the field looking to take the lead back, but the resilient Detroit defense was able to force them to kick a field goal, making it a 28-27 game late in the fourth quarter.
With a little over two minutes left in the game, Brad Kaaya and the Lions offense failed to gain a first down in an attempt to put the game away. Detroit was forced to punt the ball away, giving New England a chance to win the game. Garoppolo led the Patriots down the field setting up Stephen Gostkowski for a 45-yard game winning field goal, which was up and good, sealing a 30-28 win for the Patriots.
New England hosts the Giants in the final preseason game, while Detroit travels to Buffalo for their final game.