Breakdown: Patriots defense vs. Lions

(Kevin Jairaj/USA TODAY Sports)

The performance of the Patriots’ defense against the Lions was largely the tale of two halves, and also the depth chart. Basically, when the starters were in, the Patriots did well. When the backups arrived, they had a tougher time.

The Patriots played much of this game in a modified 3-4 alignment with three linemen, three linebackers and then a safety (mostly Jordan Richards). Not sure if I’m ready to say we’re going to be seeing a lot of that this season because we’ve seen plenty of other looks, and personnel kind of dictated it. With Dont’a Hightower still out and Elandon Roberts injured (and not all that effective), the Patriots were down to David Harris and Trevor Bates in the middle of the defense.

I wonder if this game, and other things they’ve shown along the way, has the Patriots coaches questioning what they have in the middle of this defense.