Patriots - Lions: Game Balls & Goats

The Patriots knocked off the Detroit Lions 45-24 on Thanksgiving day in Detroit. Who did well and who didn't? We hand out our Game Balls and Goats.

GAME BALLS

Tom BradyBrady leads the Game Balls this week due to a near perfect (actually a perfect passer rating) day vs the Lions. After struggling early to keep pace with the Lions (Down 17-10 at the half) Brady threw for 4 TDs to blow the game wide open. He finished with 21 of 27 passes for 347 yards and 4 TDs with no INTs.

BenJarvus Green-Ellis Though Green-Ellis finished with just 59 yards on 12 carries, he managed to get 2 TDs. It was Green-Ellis' ability to gain yards after contact which gave him the game ball. He has routinely made extra yardage doing so, and this game was one more example. His presence has eliminated the dropoff in production of missing a back like Fred Taylor.

Devin McCourtyThe rookie is quietly tirnign into a weapon on defense. After intercepting Peyton Manning last week, he snared a pair of Shaun Hill passes today. Fortunately for the Patriots, McCourty's development continues to impress as his rookie season unfolds.

Honorable Mentions:
Offensive line, Deion Branch, 1st half Lions defense.

GOATS

Third Down Defense – The Lions were 7/14 on third down, converting exactly half the time. New England is the worst team in the NFL allowing opponents to convert 51% of their third downs. Another bad game this week until the final quarter.

Patriots Pass Rush – No sacks? Again no pressure allowed Shaun Hill to pick apart the Patriots secondary because he had the time to find targets downfield. Hill also managed to scramble for first downs because pressure and containment broke down. Through 11 games, the Patriots have just 20 sacks, T-16th overall.

Situation Defense – For lack of a better culprit to name, lets say the Patriots need to do a better job in situational football. The drive that comes to mind is the end of the first half. New England gave up 41 yards in less than 45 seconds to allow the Lions to kick a field goal before the half. Had the corners player tighter coverage New England could have prevented 3 points to make things more difficult at the half.

Dishonorable Mentions:
Special teams, trick play calls

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