Week 12 Live Blog: Patriots vs. Lions

The 8-2 New England Patriots square off with the 7-3 Detroit Lions in a Sunday afternoon showdown that could be a preview of things to come in February. New England needs to win to stay atop the AFC and Detroit needs a win to keep pace with the red-hot Packers. Something has to give.

12:12 PM- Welcome to Foxboro! We are a little less than an hour from kickoff. It's a beautiful early winter Sunday, which bodes well for the passing games. Let's take a look at the inactive players for this Super Bowl-contender showdown.

Patriots Inactives: OL Cam Fleming, RB James White, WR Aaron Dobson, DL Dominique Easley, DE Chandler Jones, CB Malcolm Butler, G Jordan Devey

Lions Inactives: DT Nick Fairley, QB Kellen Moore, WR Ryan Broyles, G Larry Warford, RB Reggie Bush, DE Larry Webster, TE Kellen Davis

1:03 P.M.- The Lions will receive and we'll get our first look of the day at the Detroit offense, a group that has struggled in 2014.

1:08 P.M.- The Lions were able to pick up two first downs, both on Golden Tate catches. The Lions got away with a hold and an obvious pick play, but the Patriot defense stepped up and held the Lions to a field goal. Lions 3, Patriots 0

1:14 P.M.- Sebastian Vollmer got called for a BOGUS hands to the face penalty which costs the Patriots a first down and they go three and out. Let them play, this isn't soccer.

1:18 P.M.- Akeem Ayers has proven to be a great pickup for New England. Ayers picked up a sack on third down to force the three and out. As we discussed in the preview, Darrelle Revis is lined up man-to-man on Golden Tate and Browner has Calvin Johnson with help from the safeties. Patriots take over on offense.

1:22 P.M.-Disgusting series for the Patriots offense. Draw on first down stuffed for a five yard loss; Gronkowski with a drop on 2nd down that would have been a large gain and then a screen pass to Vereen that goes for three yards. Brady also got rocked on that third down pass. They better wake up or this could be a long day.

1:26 P.M.-Another three-and-out for the Lions. Rob Ninkovich picked up a sack on first down which basically ended any chance for a drive. Brandon Browner seems like he is comfortable covering Calvin Johnson, which tells me Johnson still isn't 100% healthy. That's no knock on Browner, it's a testament to how great Johnson really is. Let's see if the Patriots offense has woken up yet.

1:33 P.M.-Touchdown, Patriots! Tim Wright hauls in a four yard touchdown pass to complete an excellent drive by the offense. The Lions defense should be very worried because that drive was a clinic, and there were a few missed connections that won't miss later in the game. Brandon LaFell and Julian Edelman made big plays to lead to the score. Patriots 7, Lions 3

1:40 P.M.- That's the end of the first quarter. The Lions offense is starting to some tempo and they've picked up two first downs.

1:42 P.M.- The Patriots defense allowed a 42 yard play to Golden Tate (in zone coverage) but they stood tall and held the Lions to another field goal. We got an opportunity to see Revis vs. Johnson on a fade route in the end zone; Revis won the battle. Patriots 7, Lions 6

1:51 P.M.- The Patriots got excellent field position due to an 81 yard kickoff return from Danny Amendola. Brady hit LaFell on a screen that went for 16, picked up a free five for encroachment, and LeGarrette Blount plunged in for the touchdown to make the score Patriots 14, Lions 6. That was a great answer to the Lions scoring drive.

2:00 P.M.- The Lions get another gift from the refs on a holding call, but they can't take advantage and the Patriots take over at their own seven yard line. New England will be looking to put together a long, sustained scoring drive that will take this game right into the 2nd half. If that happens, Detroit is in trouble.

2:10 P.M.- Touchdown, Patriots! Tim Wright catches his second touchdown of the day, this time from eight yards out. Tom Brady was awesome on that drive, leading the offense 93 yards in 13 plays and making moves in the pocket that allows him more time to make throws. Quarterbacks don't have to be track stars, they just have to be smart and move subtly. Patriots 21, Lions 6

2:23 P.M.- Field goal attempt is no good! The Patriots take over at the Lions 43 yard line.

2:27 P.M.- Apparently the Lions didn't receive the memo- Rob Gronkowski is good and should be covered every play. Gronk was left WIDE open twice and that allowed the Patriots to walk down the field and pick up a 1st-half-ending field goal. New England gets the ball to start the second half, so this may get ugly. Patriots 24, Lions 6

Halftime

2:42 P.M.- Tom Brady and the Patriots offense head onto the field to begin the 2nd half.

2:48 P.M.- The Lions get a huge turnover, intercepting a Tom Brady pass that was intended for Rob Gronkowski, who was clearly held and interfered with. The Lions are basically allowed to do whatever they want while New England is called for absolutely everything. Tough day for the guys in stripes.

2:54 P.M.- The Patriots force a three-and-out, again. The defense just seems to get better every week, and they also tighten up as the game goes on. Darrelle Revis has been great, as has the front seven, who's getting maybe their best pressure of the season. Brady and the offense head out to try to make up for their last brain cramp.

3:13 P.M.- Great series for the Patriots defense and they force another three-and-out. On the punt, Julian Edelman had a great touchdown return called back because Patrick Chung clipped (block in the back) on the play; it was the right call. Patriots take over and try to put this game away with another touchdown.

3:18 P.M.- Awful series for the Patriots offense; three-and-out. The Lions defense has played much better in the second half, but the interception in the red zone really put a damper on the offense. Looks like the defense is going to have to stay tough.

3:24 P.M.- That's the end of the third quarter; the Patriots lead the Lions, 27-6. Matt Stafford and Co. are driving though so this 4th quarter could get interesting.

3:30 P.M.- Matt Prater connects from 49 yards out and the Lions get on the board for the first time in the 2nd half. Scoring points is nice, but the Lions really needed seven, not three. Patriots 27, Lions 9

3:34 P.M.- Tom Brady and the Patriot offense is not humming along like they were in the first half, and they're allowing the Lions to stay in the game. It makes sense to throw on this team, but from a time management standpoint, it also makes sense to run a little. At this point of the game it comes down to number of possessions remaining; killing minutes takes away possessions.

3:49 P.M.- Matt Stafford with one of the biggest brain cramps of the season. Stafford had the first down if he stayed on his feet and ran for the side line, but instead he slid to soon and the Patriots get the turnover-on-downs. Wow, that was dumb.

3:56 P.M.- Brady and the offense take about four minutes off the clock, which is really all they need to do with a three score lead. The Lions get the ball back with seven minutes to go, not a lot of time to get the offense rolling. The Patriots are going to play deep coverage, give up the underneath and let the clock tick away. The Lions will probably pick up a cheap touchdown, but they are probably short on time for an actual comeback.

4:00 P.M.- Interception, Patriots! Logan Ryan comes up with the play that will most likely put this game away. The Patriots were called for a chop block on the return and they'll take over at their own 35.

4:12 P.M.- The Patriots could have taken a knee and put this game away, but instead they handed it to "Blount Force Trauma" and he took it in for the touchdown. Another dominant afternoon for the New England Patriots, the best team in the NFL. Patriots 34, Lions 9

4:20 P.M.- That'll do it here in Foxboro and the Patriots come out on top yet again. The second half wasn't pretty from an offensive perspective, but they were facing one of the top defenses in football. Detroit needs to figure out their offensive woes shortly or their hot start could go up in flames.

Be sure to join us next week for the game of the season- Patriots vs. Packers at Lambeau Field. It just doesn't get any better.

Final Score- Patriots 34, Lions 9


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