The Patriots were demolished in Detroit on Saturday 34-10. Ndamukong Suh was a force in the middle, tying up the Pats O-Line allowing his teammates to make plays. Matthew Stafford put on a clinic, completing 12 of 14 passes for 200 yds and 2 TDs. Tom Brady did not look like himself throwing for 145 with a TD and a pick. The Pats were basically dominated in every aspect of the game.
But don’t panic.
This game may be exactly what the Patriots needed. When you’re the top dog in the League, simply rolling through the Pre-Season teaches you nothing. This is the time for young guys to get reps, to iron out kinks in your system, and work on your timing. Going all-out to beat Detroit wouldn’t prove much, and going 4-0 in the Pre-Season doesn’t earn you any trophies. Coasting into the Regular Season by beating lesser teams would instill too much unearned confidence in the team. This was a perfect reality check, exposing the lockout rust that is affecting all franchises including the Patriots.
As Tedy Bruschi put it in his post-game in his insightful post-game article, “this could be something that coach Bill Belichick is smiling about behind the scenes”. The NFL is the most competitive sports League on the planet: any team can win on any given Sunday. If you get cocky or complacent, your team will get crushed. Saturday, the Pats got served a nice slice of Humble Pie. Luckily, that’s their dessert of choice.