On Sunday, the New England Patriots produced a much-needed dominant win over the Detroit Lions, giving them new life for the rest of the season. Heading into the Week 5 matchup, the Patriots were saddled with a poor 1-3 record to start the season. Questions were being asked of the coaching staff and rookie QB Bailey Zappe filling in for injured starter Mac Jones. The 29-0 thrashing of the Lions may not have put those questions completely to bed, but surely serves as a good start.
4th-round rookie QB Bailey Zappe had impressed when he replaced injured QB Brian Hoyer in the first quarter of last week’s 27-24 overtime loss in Green Bay. This week Zappe continued on his solid debut and produced another respectable stat line during the Patriots to a 29-0 victory. Zappe completed 17 of 21 passes while adding a touchdown and interception, finishing the game with an even 100 QB rating.
Zappe’s interception is harsh considering he hit WR Nelson Agholor right between the numbers on a slant route. Unfortunately, the receiver was unable to hold onto the ball and Lions safety DeShon Elliot forced the turnover. Other than that, Zappe dazzled in a conservative approach of relying on the run game and play-action passing. The rookie’s highlight of the day was a composed 24-yard touchdown pass to WR Jakobi Meyers in the third quarter.
However, New England’s defense was certainly the star of the day. The Patriots had two sacks, one interception, and a fumble recovered for a touchdown by safety Kyle Dugger and shut out the Lions. This comes as a statement game for the Patriots’ defense considering the Lions had put up 45 points in Week 4 against the Seahawks.
Through all of the uncertainty that presides on the offensive side of the ball, New England will hope to lean on the historically reliable defense for the next few weeks against weak opposition. The Patriots travel to the 2-3 Cleveland Browns and then host the 2-3 Chicago Bears on Monday Night Football.
Cause for Concern, or New Life?
Though New England will feel re-energized after their stomping of the Detroit Lions, they may be without one of their star players for the foreseeable future. According to Frank O’Laughlin of YahooNews, running back Damien Harris could potentially miss “multiple weeks” due to a hamstring injury that he picked up in the win against Detroit. The one-two punch of Harris and fellow RB Rhamondre Stevenson has proved to be effective through the first five games of the season. Now that Harris may be sidelined for the next few weeks, Stevenson will be expected to pick up more carries.
Thankfully, the second-year running back out of Oklahoma had one of his best games in a Patriots uniform versus the Lions. Stevenson rushed 25 times for 161 yards, averaging an impressive 6.4 yards per carry while adding 14 yards through the air on two receptions. Though New England will certainly miss Harris through this stretch in the season, Stevenson’s performance against Detroit will ease Patriots’ fans’ nerves. The 29-0 victory against the Lions may have given the Patriots new life going into the rest of the season.
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