BOSTON (CBS) -- The Patriots clinched their 14th straight winning season on Sunday, improving to 9-2 with a 34-9 win over the Detroit Lions at Gillette Stadium.
After dominating on the ground last Sunday in Indianapolis, the Patriots used their air attack against Detroit. Tom Brady spread the ball around and tore apart the Lions' secondary for 349 yards, with tight end Tim Wright catching a pair of touchdown passes.
On defense the Patriots held a tough Detroit receiving corps in check and never really let Matthew Stafford feel comfortable. They held the Lions to just 244 yards on offense, and 5-for-17 on third down.
It was a big win for the Patriots -- their seventh straight -- and now it's on to Green Bay and the 8-3 Packers. But before we look ahead, let's look back at the Ups and Downs from Sunday's win over Detroit.
Defense Stands Tall
It was no easy task for Darrelle Revis and Brandon Browner to contain Calvin Johnson and Golden Tate, but the duo did a very admirable job.
Revis spent most of his afternoon on Tate and reminded us all that "Revis Island" is still a very real place, with Tate finishing with just four receptions for 97 yards (with 47 of those yards on one play). Johnson was held to just four receptions on 22 yards, and both were held out of the end zone.
That's eight receptions for 155 yards on 21 targets for Johnson and Tate.
Revis finished the game with four pass deflections, with Browner recording a pair of his own. Patrick Chung also played pretty well (with six total tackles and pass deflection) and Akeem Ayers was again a pest in the pass rush. Matthew Stafford was sacked twice by the Patriots defense and hit another four times.
Second Quarter Dominance Continues
The Patriots continued their dominance over opponents in the second quarter, outscoring Detroit 17-3. The Patriots have now outscored opponents 142-46 in the second quarter this season.
The Patriots had the ball three times in the second quarter, and scored points each time. On their first drive, an 81-yard kickoff return by Danny Amendola set them up at the Detroit 22, and a few plays later LeGarrette Blount was back in the end zone as a member of the Patriots.
Their second drive of the quarter was much more impressive: A 13-play drive that covered 93 yards, capped off by a Tom Brady touchdown pass to a wide open Tim Wright in the end zone. Julian Edleman, Brandon LaFell, Rob Gronkowski and Shane Vereen all had receptions of 10+ yards on the drive, with Brady going 8-for-10 on the drive for 90 yards.
Stephen Gostkowski also added three points with a 35-yard field goal after Brady and the offense picked up 55 yards in 30 seconds.
Tim Wright Gets Open
Wright played a season-high 60 snaps (according to ESPNBoston.com's Mike Reiss, who pegged Wright as his "big player prediction" on WBZ-TV's Patriots GameDay before the game), and made the most of his time on the field.
He finished with five receptions for 36 yards, including two wide-open touchdown grabs in the end zone.
Blount Returns With A Bang
Blount was released by the Steelers earlier in the week, but found the end zone twice for the Patriots on Sunday.
Blount gives the Patriots another big back for those cold games ahead, and he continued to be the bruiser that we saw late last season on Sunday. He finished with 78 yards on 12 carries, including a 23-yard run in the third quarter and a 33-yard scamper in the fourth.
Bonus Up: Ryan Allen
We have to give the Patriots' punter some love after a potentially game-saving punt in the first quarter.
With Detroit up 3-0 and the Pats pinned at their own nine-yard line, Allen was able to scoop up a low snap from Danny Aiken to save what could have been a safety. Then, he not only got the punt off but a beauty of a punt, booting it 66 yards to the Detroit 20 (Jeremy Ross was only able to get a yard on the return thanks to good tackling by Matthew Slater and Nate Ebner).
The punt turned what could have been good field position for the Lions into 79 yards of field for Matthew Stafford and Company to cover. The Patriots defense forced a three-and-out, and then the Pats' offense marched down the field for their first touchdown of the game.
A week after being named the AFC Offensive Player of the Week, Jonas Gray watched this one from the sidelines.
Gray was active, but didn't play as part of his punishment for being late to Friday's practice. Blount and Shane Vereen got the bulk of the snaps at running back, with Brandon Bolden even getting in on a few plays.
If Gray is still on the team this week, he might want to invest in the Tom Brady alarm clock the Patriots tweeted out Sunday morning.
Penalties Pile Up
They way they play defense, we knew the Patriots would be up there in terms of penalties. But they had several potentially costly penalties on Sunday.
In total, the Patriots were flagged 11 times for 84 yards.
2nd Half Offense
As good as the offense was in the second quarter, they didn't do much in the second half. They scored just 10 points, which included a late touchdown run by Blount when Detroit wasn't really trying (though you could probably argue that Detroit didn't really try much after halftime).
Connolly, LaFell Injuries
Dan Connolly left late in the fourth quarter with a foot or ankle injury and did not return. The Patriots offensive line didn't allow a sack on Sunday, but losing Connolly could be costly for that unit, which has been great over the last month.
LaFell also left late in the game with a shoulder injury after making a great diving catch on a fourth-and-three play. He led all receivers with 98 yards for the afternoon, and has become one of Brady's go-to guys over the last seven weeks.
LaFell was seen in the New England locker room after the game, always a good sign for any dinged-up player.
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