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RECAP: Lions vs. Patriots

If the Detroit Lions were truly using Friday night's preseason matchup with the Super Bowl champion New England Patriots as a measuring-stick game for their starters, they found out rather quickly that they didn't quite measure up on this night.

Quarterback Tom Brady led the Patriots to scores on his first four drives, finishing with touchdowns on the first three and a field goal on the fourth.

View in-game photos from the Detroit Lions' preseason Week 3 game vs. New England Patriots.

While Brady was carving up Detroit's defense, the Lions' offense fumbled away the ball on its first play of the game (Golden Tate), and then went three and out on its next two possessions. Before the Lions knew it, they found themselves down 24-0.

Detroit finally got on the board with 1:19 left in first half on a Matthew Stafford 23-yard touchdown pass to Marvin Jones Jr.

The Patriots pulled their starters at halftime, but the Lions played theirs one more series into the third quarter. Stafford led a nine-play, 88-yard drive to open the second half that culminated with an 18-yard touchdown to Dwayne Washington that trimmed the Patriots' lead to 24-14.

Jake Rudock took over at quarterback for the Lions from there and was very sharp. He led the Lions on two second-half scoring drives that briefly gave Detroit a 28-24 lead in the fourth quarter. But two late Stephen Gostkowski field goals, the last with just one second left in the game, helped New England to a 30-28 win.

Kudos for Detroit's backups to battle back and nearly get the win, but the way Detroit's starters were worked over by Tom Brady and Co. has to be a bit concerning for head coach Jim Caldwell.  

QB Comparison: Stafford finished 15-of-22 passing for 190 yards with two touchdowns and an interception for a passer rating of 106.2. It should be noted that Stafford's last scoring drive was against Patriots backups on defense.

Brady completed 12 of his 15 pass attempts for 174 yards with two touchdowns passes and one interception (Glover Quin) for a passer rating of 126.8.

Stock up: Running back Ameer Abdullah was a bright spot among the Lions starters. He showed off the kind of versatility the Lions are expecting to get all 16 games this season.

He made a number of nice runs, and finished with 60 yards on the ground on 13 attempts (4.6 average).

He caught another three passes for 39 yards. One of those came when he was motioned out wide as a receiver. That's 99 yards of production in a half and one series.

Stock down: It was clear early on that Brady and the Patriots' offense were going to test rookie MIKE linebacker Jarrad Davis. He found himself in some unfortunate one-on-one situations with quicker and faster New England pass catchers, and Brady took advantage of it. Davis was picked on a few times in the first couple series, and he was in coverage on Brady's first touchdown of the game to Chris Hogan.

Detroit's defense also seemed to be scrambling to get set up when the Patriots threw some no-huddle at the Lions in the first half. It's Davis' job to get the calls in and get everyone set up before the ball is snapped.

This will be film Davis can learn from. He did finish with eight tackles to lead Detroit.

Injury report: Detroit lost starting WILL linebacker Tahir Whitehead to a knee injury in the first half. He did not return.

Reserve tight end Cole Wick also left the game in the first half after taking a big hit while attempting to catch a pass on a crossing route. Wick injured his chest and didn't return.

Look out for this guy: Rookie linebacker Jalen Reeves-Maybin had himself a pretty nice game. He stuffed a run early in the game and also blew up an attempted screen pass in the second half. He had terrific instincts, and his speed is a real factor. When he sees it, he gets there in a hurry.

Not knowing the severity of the Whitehead injury, Reeves-Maybin could be a candidate to fill that spot, along with veteran Paul Worrilow if Whitehead's injury turns out to be significant.

Key stat: The Lions' defense didn't record a single sack on the evening. They only hit Patriots quarterbacks three times. On the flip side, Detroit only gave up one sack.

Quotable: "Yeah, obviously we didn't play very well," Lions head coach Jim Caldwell told FOX 2 at halftime. "Ended up decently, got an interception and then down with the score. So, we got it turning in the right direction but it wasn't a pretty start. Turnovers ... just weren't very sharp at the beginning."

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