FOXBORO, Mass. — It could have been worse. At least the New England Patriots didn’t try to carry Matt Patricia off the field on their shoulders in celebration.
The Detroit Lions played their worst all-around game of the season on Sunday, failing to score a point with their top-ranked offense and making Bailey Zappe look like a young Tom Brady in a 29-0 loss to the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium.
Zappe, in his first career start, completed 17 of 21 passes for 188 yards and one touchdown with Patricia, the ex-Lions coach and former defensive coordinator, calling plays for the Patriots on offense.
JEFF SEIDEL:This shouldn’t be acceptable: Lions outplayed, outcoached. Ugh!
The Lions, who led the NFL in total and scoring offense entering Sunday, finished with a season-low 312 yards in a game that was somewhat reminiscent of their loss to the Buffalo Bills in 2014, when Bills players celebrated by hoisting former Lions coach Jim Schwartz — their then-defensive coordinator — on their shoulders after the game.
The Lions had not been shutout since Nov. 22, 2020, in Patricia’s second-to-last game as Lions coach.
They head to their bye week 1-4, losers of three straight, in last place in the NFC North and with a slew of injury problems across their roster.
On Sunday, the Lions de-activated struggling starting cornerback Amani Oruwariye and benched safety DeShon Elliott, then lost three other defensive backs to injury. Saivion Smith, who started in place of Elliott, suffered a neck injury in the first quarter and was taken to a local hospital, and Will Harris (snout) and Ifatu Melifonwu (ankle) left the game with injuries and did not return.
CARLOS MONARREZ:Why Lions’ blowout loss to Patriots isn’t all that horrible
Elliott (cramps), Jeff Okudah and Kerby Joseph also left with injuries, but returned. The Lions also played without running back D’Andre Swift and receiver DJ Chark.
The Lions went 0-for-6 on fourth downs, failed to force a punt until early in the fourth quarter and committed two first-half turnovers that led to 10 Patriots points.
Jamaal Williams was stopped on a fullback dive on fourth-and-1 from the Patriots’ 45-yard line on the game’s opening possession, and New England took a 3-0 lead on a short field goal on the ensuing series.
Jared Goff threw an interception in the red zone on the Lions’ next drive to set up another Patriots field goal, and Kyle Dugger returned a Goff fumble 59 yards for a touchdown on another failed fourth down attempt late in the first half.
Nick Folk made field goals of 37, 32, 44, 37 and 29 yards for the Patriots, whose lone offensive touchdown came with 1:51 left in the third quarter on a 24-yard Zappe pass to Jakobi Meyers.
Meyers had seven catches for 111 yards and Rhamondre Stevenson ran for a career-high 161 yards on 25 carries as the Patriots improved to 2-3.
Goff finished 19 of 35 for 229 yards and failed to throw a touchdown pass for the first time this season for the Lions.
Contact Dave Birkett at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @davebirkett.