Former UH linebacker Jahlani Tavai cracks starting lineup in NFL preseason debut with Detroit Lions

Sports

DETROIT, MI – AUGUST 8: Trey Flowers #90, Eric Lee #55 and Jahlani Tavai #51 of the Detroit Lions line up during the preseason game against the New England Patriots at Ford Field on August 8, 2019 in Detroit, Michigan. New England defeated Detroit 31-3. (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)

Jakobi Meyers caught two touchdown passes in an impressive preseason debut, and the New England Patriots drubbed the Detroit Lions 31-3 on Thursday night.

In the loss, former University of Hawaii linebacker Jahlani Tavai, who was selected in the second round of the 2019 NFL Draft by Detroit, made the start at middle linebacker but did not record any statistics.

DETROIT, MI – AUGUST 8: Jahlani Tavai #51 of the Detroit Lions looks on during the preseason game against the New England Patriots at Ford Field on August 8, 2019 in Detroit, Michigan. New England defeated Detroit 31-3. (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)

Tom Brady and Matthew Stafford didn’t play, and plenty of other key players were also spectators, but Meyers stood out for New England. The undrafted rookie caught scoring passes from Brian Hoyer and Jarrett Stidham in the second quarter. He finished with six catches for 69 yards.

Super Bowl MVP Julian Edelman (thumb) has been sidelined for the Patriots, and Phillip Dorsett is the only other returning receiver. Meyers seems to be taking advantage of his opportunity so far.

Lions receiver Jermaine Kearse was carted off injured early in the first quarter, and that was the start of a dismal night for Detroit. The Lions didn’t cross midfield until the latter half of the fourth quarter, when they finally drove for a field goal. The Patriots sacked Detroit quarterbacks nine times.

The Lions finished the third quarter with only 41 net yards – and minus-11 passing.

Hoyer went 12 of 14 for 147 yards and two touchdowns. His 14-yard strike to Maurice Harris made it 7-0 in the first quarter. Meyers then caught a 3-yard TD from Hoyer and a 5-yarder from Stidham.

Nick Brossette scored on a 1-yard run in the third quarter.

Lions coach Matt Patricia has been moving around on a vehicle at practice while recovering from surgery on his left leg. He did coach this game from the sideline, perched behind a handful of coolers near midfield, a safe distance from the field.

INJURIES

Patriots: TE Matt LaCosse walked off gingerly in the second quarter.

Lions: Shortly after Kearse’s injury, QB Tom Savage appeared to be shaken up. He was able to walk off but did not return. … DT Darius Kilgo was helped off in the second quarter.

NEXT UP

Patriots: at Tennessee on Aug. 17.

Lions: at Houston on Aug. 17.

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