Sunday night was a big win for Matt Patricia and the Detroit Lions on a number of fronts.
Not only was it the first for the Lions this season after starting 0-2 and the first of the Patricia era in Detroit, but this was against the Patriots and Bill Belichick, the gold standard in the NFL for years now and Patricia's mentor for 14 years.
Detroit's 26-10 victory on Sunday Night Football in front of a national audience is exactly what this team needed to jumpstart their 2018 season.
The Lions came out and took it to New England from the get-go. Detroit's defense forced three-and-outs on each of New England's first three possessions, the Lions' offense marched up and down the field to establish a 13-0 lead, and the Lions led 13-3 at the half.
After a Matthew Stafford interception to start the second half – his only mistake of the game – turned into a Tom Brady touchdown, Stafford came right back and hit Marvin Jones Jr. on a 33-yard touchdown to extend the lead back to double digits.
Detroit's defense took over from there, not allowing another point in the game.
The Patriots entered the game 17-1 in their last 18 games following a double-digit loss the week before. Make that 17-2 after a double-digit loss last week to Jacksonville and another Sunday night to Detroit.
Run game ignited: The Lions have gone 70 games without a 100-yard rusher, dating all the way back to the 2013 season and Reggie Bush.
Well, the streak is over.
Rookie Kerryon Johnson rushed 16 times for 101 yards (6.3) average, ending the drought.
Detroit ran the ball early, often and with a lot of success against the Patriots' defense.
They racked up 159 yards on the ground in the game for a 4.8 average, which is exactly what Lions GM Bob Quinn and Patricia envisioned when they signed free-agent running back LeGarrette Blount and drafted guard Frank Ragnow and Johnson.
QB Comparison: Stafford was good in this one, completing 27 of his 36 passes for 262 yards with a couple touchdowns (Kenny Golladay & Jones) and just the one interception. He finished with a 101.9 passer rating.
Stafford outplayed the future Hall of Famer Brady, who was just 14-of-26 passing for 133 yards with a touchdown and interception (Darius Slay) for a 65.1 rating.
Defense, defense, defense: What an effort by the Lions' defense against Brady and this potent Patriots' offense.
New England had just 157 total yards and 57 rushing late into the fourth quarter before Detroit went into prevent mode. New England finished with just 209 total yards for the game.
The Patriots were 2-of-9 on third down, punted five times, turned it over on downs one other possession, and simply ran out of time with the ball to end the game.
Solid effort all night by the Lions' defense.
Next up: at Dallas (1-2).