Patriots win 7th straight, rout Lions 34-9
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) For the first time in their seven-game winning streak, the New England Patriots didn't score first.
They came right back, taking the lead for good on Tom Brady's 4-yard touchdown pass to Tim Wright late in the first quarter and rolling to a 34-9 rout of the Detroit Lions on Sunday.
''The Lions have a great defense,'' said Wright, who also caught an 8-yard scoring pass against the team that had allowed the fewest points in the NFL. ''The offensive line did a great job all week of sticking together and creating a scheme to defeat their (defensive) line, defeat the pass rush.''
Brady wasn't sacked, often throwing quickly to wide-open receivers. He had a season-high 38 completions in 53 attempts for 349 yards, two touchdowns and one interception.
The Lions (7-4) were no match for that, or the Patriots defense, as they failed to score a touchdown for the second straight game. One week earlier they lost to the Arizona Cardinals, the NFC's top team, 14-9.
Matthew Stafford completed only 18 passes, matching his low for the season, in 46 attempts for 264 yards and one interception.
''People tend to blame the quarterback,'' Detroit coach Jim Caldwell said, ''but nobody played extremely well on our team.''
For the Patriots (9-2), all three phases of the game played well. On special teams, Ryan Allen boomed a 66-yard punt and Danny Amendola returned a kickoff 81 yards, setting up a 3-yard touchdown run by LeGarrette Blount that made it 14-6.
''Everyone is linked together,'' Brady said, ''so we all feed off each other - offense, defense, special teams.''
The Patriots led 24-6 at halftime as Brady completed 21 of 27 passes.
''We blew a lot of coverage,'' Detroit linebacker DeAndre Levy said. ''They sped up the tempo a bit and I think we lost our composure.''
The Patriots routed a division leader for the third straight week, following wins over Denver and Indianapolis. They visit Green Bay (8-3), which began the day tied with Detroit for the NFC North lead, next Sunday.
In their last five games, the Lions have led for 45 minutes, 53 seconds, and trailed for 209 minutes, 50 seconds, according to STATS.
Other highlights from the Patriots 44th win in their last 47 regular-season home games:
BLOUNT FORCE: Last Monday night, Blount headed to the locker room as his Pittsburgh Steelers were lining up for the final snap in a 27-24 victory over the Tennessee Titans. He was cut the next day, signed with the Patriots on Thursday night and rushed for 78 yards and two touchdowns Sunday for the team he spent last season with.
''I was prepared for anything,' Blount said. ''They told me, `Just be prepared for whatever we use you for.' So I just made sure I was ready.''
Jonas Gray didn't play after rushing 37 times for 201 yards and four touchdowns in a 42-20 win over the Indianapolis Colts a week earlier. He was sent away from practice Friday after reporting late.
POOR RECEPTION: Detroit's Golden Tate came into the game with 68 catches, third most in the NFL. Calvin Johnson, one of the NFL's most dangerous receivers, had 12 catches in two games after missing three with an ankle injury. But each had just four receptions Sunday.
''This was embarrassing,'' Tate said of the 25-point loss. ''We just have to find a way. We don't know what it is, but we've got to figure it out real soon.''
WEAK COVERAGE: Detroit allowed Julian Edelman to catch 11 passes and Brandon LaFell to grab nine.
''We were thinking they were going to run the ball, then they passed it,'' safety Glover Quin said. ''They do a great job of scheming and Tom Brady does a great job of finding mismatches.''
HAPPY ANNIVERSARY: Fourteen years ago to the day, rookie Brady made his NFL debut late in another 34-9 game. The winner? The Lions at home on Thanksgiving Day. With the game out of reach, Brady replaced Drew Bledsoe with just over 4 minutes remaining and took five snaps - two penalties, two incompletions, and, on his last play, a 5-yard pass to Rod Rutledge for his first pro completion. Brady became the starter the following September when Bledsoe got hurt and led the Patriots to their first Super Bowl championship that season.
COMING UP: The Lions still have solid playoff prospects. Their next three games are at home against teams with losing records - Chicago (on Thanksgiving Day), Tampa Bay and Minnesota before they finish on the road against Chicago and Green Bay.
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