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TIM AND MIKE: Week 3 observations

Splash plays, dried up: The Lions put the clamps on the Patriots and did not allow any big plays. They were burned in the first two games, giving up touchdown runs of 66 and 62 yards. The Patriots’ longest run was 15 yards, and the longest receptions were two for 19 yards. – Mike O’Hara

Rookie report: First-round pick Frank Ragnow had arguably his best game as a professional. He didn’t allow a single pressure, hit or sack on the quarterback, and opened up a number of gaping holes in the run game. The other half of the rookie duo, Kerryon Johnson, was elusive and tough running the ball all night. He averaged more than 6.0 yards per carry (16 carries for 101 yards) and broke the Lions’ 70-game streak without a 100-yard rusher. Both players showed Sunday night why they were GM Bob Quinn’s first two picks in the draft. – Tim Twentyman

On the run: How game circumstances dictate calling offensive plays was evident against the Patriots compared to last week’s loss to the 49ers. The Lions did not call a running play in the fourth quarter because they had to throw the ball to get back in the game. They called 10 running plays against the Patriots to protect the lead and take time off the clock. – Mike O’Hara

O-line dominance: Collectively, the five guys upfront played a stellar game in both phases. Matthew Stafford was sacked just one time in the game, and that was the only time he was even hit. Taylor Decker, Ragnow, Graham Glasgow, T.J. Lang and Rick Wagner also completely dominated the line of scrimmage in the run game. Detroit tallied 159 yards on the ground, and those five guys imposed their will on the Patriots front seven all night long. Best performance by a Lions o-line in some time. – Tim Twentyman

Kerryon’s cheering section: There was a loud cheer during a TV timeout with players waiting for play to resume. What sparked the reaction was a message on the video board showing that Kerryon Johnson had 101 yards rushing, ending the 70-game drought of no Lions running back having an individual 100-yard rushing game. That showed how closely fans follow the team, and the stats. – Mike O’Hara

Pass defense: Take a wild guess at who ranks No. 1 in the NFL in pass defense. You got it, the Detroit Lions. The last two weeks in particular, that part of Detroit’s defense has been good. There weren’t a lot of places for Jimmy Garoppolo and Tom Brady to throw the football, which is why we’ve seen a number of coverage sacks the last two weeks. Brady had a passer rating of 65.1 vs. the Lions. We have to go back four years to find another game of his that low. Opponents are averaging just 152.0 yards through the air per game on the Lions’ defense this year. – Tim Twentyman

Lucky 13s: The Lions had slow starts in losing the first two games, and a bad finish in the opener against the Jets. Neither was a problem against the Patriots. The Lions scored the first 13 points to take control early, and scored the last 13 to put the game away after a 10-point spurt by the Patriots had cut the Lions’ lead to 13-10. – Mike O’Hara

New faces making headway: The Lions traded for outside linebacker Eli Harold on Aug. 23rd. The team was awarded defensive end Romeo Okwara via waivers on Sept. 5. Less than a month into their Lions tenures, the pair of defenders are already showing to be early contributors for the defense. Harold recorded two sacks and three tackles vs. the Patriots, bringing his season sack total to 3.0, which is tied for the team lead. Okwara got extended reps (40 snaps) vs. New England and set a nice edge in the run game, tallied two tackles, and recorded a tackle for loss and quarterback hit. – Tim Twentyman

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