New England Patriots deliver a dose of preseason NFL reality to Detroit Lions
By NOAH TRISTER
AP Sports Writer
ALLEN PARK — There’s nothing like a matchup with Tom Brady and the New England Patriots to provide a little more clarity during the preseason.
For the Detroit Lions, it was a bit of a reality check.
After solid performances in their first two exhibition games, the Lions went up against the defending Super Bowl champions Friday night and lost 30-28, but the final score wasn’t indicative of Detroit’s struggles.
The Patriots led 24-0 after one quarter, and it wasn’t until the second half that the Lions really began to rally against New England backups.
“It was a preseason game, but we can clearly see the level that we have to play at if we want to win against good teams,” safety Glover Quin said.
Detroit won preseason games against Indianapolis (with Andrew Luck out) and the New York Jets, but the Patriots were on a different level — and Brady didn’t need much time to establish that. He went 12 of 15 for 174 yards with two touchdowns and an interception.
Although it’s only preseason, this pattern is a familiar one for the Lions, who have made the playoffs two of the past three seasons but have struggled to beat top competition.
Detroit was 9-4 last year before losing its final three regular-season games to the Giants, Cowboys and Packers. Then the Lions lost their playoff opener to Seattle.
The Lions were able to pressure the quarterback against the Colts and Jets despite their defensive line being below full strength. They did not have a sack against New England on Friday.
On Sunday, Detroit announced that defensive tackle Jordan Hill was going on injured reserve with a bicep injury. The Lions lost defensive lineman Kerry Hyder to an Achilles tendon injury in the game against Indianapolis.
They also announced that they have signed free agent defensive tackle Derrick Lott. Lott spent time with the Philadelphia Eagles and Oakland Raiders during the 2016 preseason. Prior to that, he was on Tampa Bay’s practice squad during the 2015 season.
Caldwell said linebacker Tahir Whitehead (knee) and tight end Cole Wick (chest) will “be OK” following their injuries.