Ryan L. Fox
Well here we are again. Master versus the apprentice. From 2004 to 2017, current Detroit Lions head coach Matt Patricia worked for the New England Patriots under Bill Belichick in different coaching roles with the team (most notably as defensive coordinator from 2012-2017). In the 2018 off-season, Matt accepted the role as head coach of the Detroit Lions and things have not gotten off smoothly as he may had hoped.
This past Sunday night, he faced off against his former boss in a Week 3 matchup that many tuned in to see can the apprentice top the master. However unlike in Week 1 where Belichick schooled one former coordinator, it was Matt Patricia who was taking Bill to school.
The Patriots got the ball to start the game as WR Cordarrelle Patterson took the opening kickoff 3 yards back in his own end zone and returned it to the New England 42. With the excellent field position, QB Tom Brady took to the field for the Patriots’ first offensive possession of the game. However the Lions defense smothered the Patriots as P Ryan Allen came on to boot the ball away.
The Lions got the ball to start at their own 14. Lions QB Matt Stafford methodically led his team down the field with his passing attack while running backs LeGarrette Blount and Kerryon Johnson pounded the Patriots on the ground. The Lions got all the way down to the New England 21 where on 4th and inches, Lions Coach Matt Patricia elected to go for the field goal. Kicker Matt Prater booted the 38-yard field goal through thru the uprights as the Lions got the early 3-0 lead.
After forcing another New England punt, the Lions got the ball back at their own 40. From there, Stafford lead the offense down the field again. The Lions drove down to the New England 15 as the first quarter came to a close.
When the second quarter began, the Lions got down to the New England 4. Then on 2nd and goal from the 4, Stafford found WR Kenny Golladay in the flat. Golladay was then tackled by Patriots CB Stephon Gilmore as it appeared Golladay fumbled the ball out of bounds at the 3 yard line. Patricia challenged the play as then replays showed that Golladay reached over the goal line with the ball before being tackled. The call was reversed and Detroit was given a touchdown. Prater kicked the PAT to make it 10-0.
After forcing another Patriots punt, the Lions got the ball on their own 22. Again Stafford lead the team down the field against the hapless Patriots defense. They got all the way down to the New England 7. But then on 2nd and 3rd and goal from the 7, the Patriots defense bogged down and got the stop. Prater came on to kick a 25-yard field goal, extending the Lions lead to 13-0.
With less than 5 minutes left in the half, the Patriots got the ball back on their 25. Brady was able to lead the first successful Patriots offensive drive for the game, getting down all the way to the Detroit 16. The drive included two big plays including a 15-yard pass from Brady to TE Rob Gronkowski to the Detroit 49 on 2nd and 10 from the New England 36 and then a 19-yard pass to RB Rex Burkhead to the Detroit 25 on 2nd and 5 from the Detroit 44 after the 2 minute warning. But on 3rd and 1 from the Detroit 16, RB Sonny Michel was stopped for a loss. The Patriots had to settle for a 36-yard field goal from K Stephen Gostkowski for their first points of the game to make it 13-3 with 44 seconds left in the half.
The Lions got the ball back in the second half and were poised to go for the early knockout punch. But on 3rd and 4 from their own 31, Stafford’s pass to TE Luke Willson was picked off by Patriots LB Ja’Whaun Bentley at the New England 48.
Using the short field, Brady got the offense going. A couple of big plays along with a facemask penalty got the ball to the Detroit 12. Three plays later on 3rd and 8 from the Detroit 10, Brady found RB James White for the 10-yard touchdown pass. Gostkowski’s PAT then made it 13-10 as it looked like the Patriots were in the driver’s seat.
A sack of Stafford on 1st and 10 at the Detroit 25 by DE Deatrich Wise Jr. for a 7-yard loss and holding RB Theo Riddick to 8 yards on the ensuing second down made it 3rd and 9 from the Detroit 9. However Golladay hauled in a Stafford pass before taking it to his own 42 for 16 yards, giving Detroit a first down and new life. The Lions got all the way down to the New England 33 where on 1st and 10, Stafford found WR Marvin Jones Jr. on the right sideline for a long 33-yard touchdown pass. Prater’s PAT then made it 20-10.
After forcing another punt, the Lions got the ball back at their own 25. They proceeded to run down the remainder of the 3rd quarter with Johnson carrying the rock and then a 25-yard pass from Stafford to WR Golden Tate to the New England 32 to end the quarter.
When the 4th quarter began, the Lions got as far as the New England 14 before having to settle for a 32-yard field goal by Matt Prater. Prater’s kick was true as the Lions’ lead grew to 23-10.
After the two teams then exchanged punts, the Patriots got the ball back at the 9:18 mark in the 4th quarter at their own 26. After 3 runs by RB Sony Michel, it was 2nd and 8 from the New England 43. Brady dropped back and tried to find WR Phillip Dorsett down the middle. Brady forced the ball into tight coverage to Dorsett and was picked off by Lions CB Darius Slay at the Detroit 15.
Although the Lions couldn’t convert the turnover to points on the ensuing drive, they ate up nearly 3 minutes of game clock.
The Patriots got the ball back on their own 15 as Brady found Gronk for an 8-yard hookup to the New England 23. However on the ensuing play, Brady was sacked for a 12-yard loss by Lions LB Eli Harold to make it 3rd and long. Brady tried to find Dorsett on 3rd and 4th down but both times his passes were incomplete.
The Lions got the ball back at the New England 12 and proceeded to run down the clock. They ended up settling for a 30-yard field goal by Prater as the score was pushed to 26-10 with under 2 minutes to play.
The Patriots had one last chance for some dignity points as the offense went into no huddle. The got as far as the Detroit 44 where on the last play of the game, White was tackled in bounds at the Detroit 40. The Patriots could not stop the clock as it reached 00:00 as the Lions got the crushing 26-10, giving Matt Patricia his first victory of the 2018 campaign.
QB Tom Brady: 14-for-26 for 133 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT for a QB Rating of 65.1.1, 1 carries for 2 yards
RB Sony Michel: 14 carries for 50 yards
TE Rob Gronkowski: 4 catches (on 5 targets) for 51 yards
WR Cordarrelle Patterson: 1 catch for 12 yards, 4 KR for 113 yards (28.3 per return)
LB Ja’Whaun Bentley: 5 tackles (3 solo, 2 assist), 1 interception, 1 pass defended
Numbers! Numbers! Numbers!
12 – Number of first downs the Patriots had for entire game, 3rd lowest total during the Brady-Belichick Era.
46 – Difference between the Patriots total net yards on offense (209) and the Lions net yards passing (255)
43– Number of receiving yards Patriots WRs had for the entire game (Hogan 31 & Patterson 12)
20:45 – Total time of possession for the Patriots for the game (Lions had 39:15)
29:16 – How long it took in the game for the Patriots to score their first points in the first half
.619– Belichick’s win percentage against former assistants/scouts in the regular season contests
Master vs. Apprentice
In the previous section, yours truly listed the winning percentage of Bill Belichick against his former assistants turned head coaches. The list of formers coordinators from the Belichick coaching tree include the likes of Romeo Crennel, Eric Mangini, Bill O’Brien, Josh McDaniels from the Patriots but also include the likes of Jim Schwartz, Jim Bates, and Nick Saban from Bill’s days in Cleveland.
In match-ups against former coordinators and scouts, Bill has gone a total of 13-8 in the regular season including 2-0 in the postseason. There’s always that question of why Bill’s former assistants and scouts struggle against him. Is it because he knows their tendencies? Or is it because they try to overthink themselves against their former boss?
However sometimes it can also backfire on Bill (see Week 3 Patriots-Lions match up) where a coordinator might remember a few weaknesses and tendencies of the players still on the team and can exploit that. One night the Master will reign supreme and another night the apprentice will gain the upper hand.
A new segment dedicated to Cordarrelle Patterson, the supposed ‘X-Factor’ for this Patriots offense. This week, he had 1 catch for 12 yards. Gasp! He really scared the Lions on that one. How will Matt Patricia be able to sleep at night knowing he gave up 12 yards receiving to Cordarrelle Patterson?
Fox Fist Bump
Normally the Fox Fist bump is reserved for Patriots players who did well. This week, nobody gets it. Why do you ask? Because nobody deserved it!
Everything that had the ‘Flying Elvis’ logo. Couldn’t block, couldn’t catch, and couldn’t make a goddamn stop if their life depended on it. Brady showed his age, the wide receiver corp is a complete joke, and the defense got exposed for a 2nd time in a row. The play calling was atrocious at best, down right putrid at worst. If players are not benched or cut to prove a point, then we are looking at a dynasty crumbling before our very eyes.
Play of the Game
Oh my god! Kenny scored a touchdown!
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