DETROIT – Quick-hit thoughts after the first quarter of the Patriots’ game against the Lions, with the Lions leading 7-3:
Patriots flipping corners – Arrington on Johnson. In a rare occurrence, the Patriots have been flipping their corners, with Kyle Arrington most often following Lions WR Calvin Johnson to whatever side he lines up. The plan seems to be to have Arrington jam Johnson as much as possible at the line. Johnson had been held in check until the last play of the quarter, a 19-yard touchdown catch in which Johnson adjusted to the ball thrown behind him. The Patriots' inability to get off the field on third down -- with QB Shaun Hill's scrambles a big issue -- hurt them on the drive.
Welker coming up big. Receiver Wes Welker’s fingertip catch on third down extended the team’s second offensive drive. It was a beauty. Welker made two other catches later on the drive, the final just short of the first-down marker and setting up fourth-and-a-about-a-foot from the 1.5-yard line. The Patriots elected for the 19-yard field goal.
Edelman with a big punt return. Receiver Julian Edelman’s 28-yard punt return set up the Patriots’ eight-play, 41-yard drive that culminated in Shayne Graham’s 19-yard field goal. Edelman’s opportunities to make plays on offense have been limited, but this was a case where he helped the team in a different way.
Impact of Suh felt early. The Patriots’ first drive stalled when rookie defensive lineman Ndamukong Suh broke through the line and sacked quarterback Tom Brady. Suh is a runaway favorite for Defensive Rookie of the Year honors, as that was his eighth sack of the season. Since sacks became an official statistic in 1982, no Lions rookie has totaled more than Suh’s eight this year.
McCourty’s tackle on kickoff return. Patriots first-round draft choice Devin McCourty had the Ford Field crowd “oohing” with his tackle of return man Stefan Logan with 4:53 left in the quarter. It was a jarring hit, limiting Logan to a 22-yard return. It was McCourty’s sixth solo tackle of the season on special teams.
Rookies Love & Fletcher in mix on defense for Patriots. The Patriots are mixing their defensive packages between the base 3-4 alignment and multiple sub groupings. One of the sub groupings includes rookie linebacker Dane Fletcher, while rookie defensive lineman Kyle Love has also been on the field. With rookie defensive end Brandon Deaderick inactive, the Patriots are using Gerard Warren, Vince Wilfork and Love as interior rushers.
Crumpler’s longest catch of the season. The Patriots’ first offensive play of the game was a nice play-action, with uncovered tight end Alge Crumpler converting a 26-yard catch and run. Crumpler entered the game with just two receptions for eight yards on the season.