- Field Yates, ESPN Insider
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After 15 minutes of play, the Patriots trail the Lions 3-0. Passing along some quick-hit notes and observations from the first quarter.
1. Opening drive halted by Sudfeld fumble. The Patriots offense was navigating down the field on their opening possession before a fumble from rookie tight end Zach Sudfeld halted the progress. Earlier in the drive, Tom Brady connected with rookie receiver Kenbrell Thompkins on a 31-yard pass. Thompkins and Julian Edelman each had two first-drive catches.
2. Starting notes. Dan Connolly, the 2012 starter at right guard, is dressed for the first time this preseason, though he did not start the game. Instead, it was veteran Will Svitek, the starter last week against Tampa Bay. Connolly entered the game for the second drive. Defensively, the Patriots were without both defensive tackle Vince Wilfork and linebacker Jerod Mayo to start the game, but Mayo entered the game shortly thereafter (Wilfork is likely just getting rest). Rookies Joe Vellano and Jamie Collins started in their places, respectively. Safety Devin McCourty made his preseason debut as the starter next to Steve Gregory.
3. No Washington on kickoff return. One of the primary reasons the Patriots were attracted to Leon Washington in free agency this offseason was his ability as a kickoff return man. Interestingly, he was not on the kickoff return team for either of the team's tries in the opening quarter. Instead, it was LeGarrette Blount and Matthew Slater. Perhaps the team is trying to evaluate whether or not Blount is a capable return man, having already seen Washington throughout camp. Washington was called upon to return the team's first punt.
4. Bolden coughs it up. Running back Brandon Bolden got a pair of early carries, but they were unfortunately followed up by a fumble on a screen pass. That was the second by the team tonight, and it set Detroit up deep in the Patriots territory.
5. Another sack for Kelly. Defensive tackle Tommy Kelly continues to provide an interior pass rush presence, darting through the Lions line and sacking Matthew Stafford for a big loss. If he can continue to provide that sort of pressure, he'll be a key contributor for this defense.
6. Lions playing chippy. The Lions didn't do themselves many favors in the first quarter, missing a field goal and also committing a pair of personal foul penalties for unnecessary roughness. For a team that has struggled with discipline in the past, that's not what head coach Jim Schwartz was looking for.
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