The New England Patriots had an ugly performance on Thursday against the Detroit Lions in a 40-9 loss after winning their first two preseason games. Since this game was a poor performance from the Pats, it’s time to take a look at four players who didn’t play well and one who was a bright spot. It’s a pessimistic look, but that’s the tradition around these parts for bad losses (even in the preseason).
1. QB Ryan Mallett
QB Rating is an absolutely jocular statistic that should have lost credence as an important statistic a while ago, and it’s performances like this that remind me why there are better stats. Ryan Mallett completed just 50% of his passes and averaged only 8.7 yards per completion for an awful total of 4.4 yards per attempt. Terrible line, right? Tom Brady went 16-24 with 185 yards and 7.7 yards per attempt, and that’s actually pretty good. But because Mallett threw a touchdown and a pick while Brady threw a pick with no touchdowns, Mallett gets the higher QB Rating. Mallett was absolutely horrendous against the Lions, and he just continues to disappoint me. I have seen no significant progress from Mallett, and that’s disconcerting. Brady was once again the best player on the Pats on Thursday, and the numbers just don’t do him justice. He was very good, and that interception was not his fault; Aaron Dobson needs to be more aggressive going after passes. Brady was also hurt by two drops from Kenbrell Thompkins.
2. S Duron Harmon
The Rutgers rookie was easily the worst player on either side of the ball, and the New England Patriots third-rounder had a flat-out ugly game. According to the Pro Football Focus, Duron Harmon missed a whopping four tackles, and he was absolutely horrendous in all facets of the game. While fellow Rutgers rookie DB and third-round pick Logan Ryan was solid for the Pats, Harmon was a disaster. That said, Harmon has mostly looked good during August, so we can just chalk that up as one awful performance for now. I mean, the defense overall was terrible.
3. DT Joe Vellano
The UDFA defensive tackle had a pair of great performances in the first two weeks of the preseason, but he was largely anonymous yesterday despite the fact that Vince Wilfork was out. Vellano didn’t take advantage of this one, and Cory Grissom is starting to narrow the gap. He should be happy, though, that Marcus Forston didn’t impress either despite a hit on the quarterback.
4. RG Will Svitek
I’m kind of sick of watching Will Svitek play at right guard, because it is clear to me that he isn’t comfortable at that position. I like that he has that versatility and can be an emergency starter there, but he is a much better tackle than guard. Svitek is going to be a key backup tackle for the Patriots, but this was another game in which Svitek did not impress at guard in any facet of the game.
5. WR Kenbrell Thompkins
Of course the performance to highlight as a good one is the display Kenbrell Thompkins had on Thursday, and he seems to have sewn up the “X” receiver job. Aaron Dobson played well on Thursday, but Thompkins looks a lot more polished and is simply the better player right now. Not only is Thompkins more reliable and has a better connection with Brady, but Dobson also has issues with not being aggressive enough on thrown balls (Brady’s pick was an example). Thompkins’s stat line was very impressive with eight receptions for 116 yards on 12 targets. There is little doubt that Thompkins has the ability to stretch the field deep, and he averaged 14.5 yards per completion with a 37-yard pass being the highlight. Overall, Thompkins averaged an impressive 9.7 yards per target and showed more than enough playmaking ability.