FOXBORO — Two quarters are done here at Gillette Stadium, and the Patriots lead the Lions, 24-6. Tom Brady (21-for-27 for 233 yards) threw two touchdown passes to Tim Wright, Brandon LaFell had six catches for 71 yards and the Patriots sacked Matthew Stafford twice and kept the Lions out of the end zone over the first two quarters to help build the lead.
Here are a few quick notes on the first two quarters:
— Shane Vereen got the start at running back for the Patriots, while LeGarrette Blount saw his first action on New England’s third series of the afternoon. Blount returned to Gillette in style with a 3-yard touchdown run early in the second quarter, and has two carries for five yards after two quarters.
— The Lions got on the board first with an eight-play drive that ended when Darrelle Revis knocked away a pass play intended for Tate, forcing Detroit to settle for a field goal. Matt Prater connected on a 48-yarder with 11:44 left in the first to make it 3-0. It was a really nice series for Detroit, which was able to pick up some good chunk yardage on a couple of impressive connections from Stafford to Tate.
— The Patriots answered with a crisp, efficient drive at the end of the first quarter, a nine-play, 74-yard sequence that took 2:37 and ended with a four-yard touchdown pass to Wright to make it 7-3. It was Wright’s fifth touchdown reception of the season. In addition, it was the 19th catch on 21 targets this year for the former Tampa Bay Buccaneer, who remains as reliable as they come.
— The Patriots were able to get a couple of really nice tackles in punt coverage in the early going, with Nate Ebner doing a great job on Ryan Allen’s second punt of the afternoon. (Matthew Slater continues to overwhelm opposing blockers while working as a gunner.) The biggest special teams play of the first half came when Danny Amendola delivered with an 81-yard kickoff return early in the second quarter. That set up the Patriots second touchdown of the game, a three-yard run from Blount to make it 14-6 with 12:43 left in the second quarter.
— New England added to it with an impressive 13-play drive for the Patriots (the third-longest drive of the year for New England) that took 93 yards, consumed 5:03 and included 16-yard pass plays to both Julian Edelman and Vereen. It ended with Wright’s second touchdown reception of the day and sixth of the season, an 8-yard catch that made it 21-6 with just over two minutes left in the half.
— The Patriots put a capper on the half with a quick drive at the end of the second quarter, a series that included a 24-yard pass play to Rob Gronkowski and ended with a 35-yard field goal by Stephen Gostkowski to make it 24-6.
— The Patriots were able to overwhelm the Detroit offensive line on a few occasions and get to Stafford. The Detroit quarterback — who had taken 31 sacks coming into the game, one of the highest totals in the league for a pocket passer — was sacked by Akeem Ayers and Rob Ninkovich. (For Ninkovich, it was his sixth sack of the season, and marked the fourth straight year with at least six sacks for the Purdue product.)