What it means: The Patriots showed they can continue to win in different ways -- they played suffocating pass defense and aired it out on offense -- in recording their seventh straight victory. They improve to 9-2, the best record in the AFC.
No snaps for Gray: One week after earning AFC Player of the Week honors when he totaled 201 rushing yards and four touchdowns against the Colts, running back Jonas Gray didn't have a single offensive snap. Part of that was likely due to his oversleeping on Friday and being sent home for being late, per Bill Belichick's long-standing team rule. But this was also a pass-first approach by the Patriots, and the projection all along was that "passing back" Shane Vereen would get the majority of snaps at running back against the NFL's No. 1-ranked defense. Our unofficial count of snaps, including penalties, looked like this: Vereen (62), LeGarrette Blount (17), Brandon Bolden (2) and Gray (0).
Game ball: Darrelle Revis. One of the questions leading up to the game was whether Revis would cover Calvin Johnson for the third time in his career or instead match up with Golden Tate, who entered the day leading the Lions with 68 catches. Revis mostly lined up across from Tate, and this was arguably his best game as a Patriot -- with four pass breakups and blanket coverage that served as a reminder that Revis Island is alive and well.
Wright steps up at tight end. Tight end Tim Wright's previous season high for snaps played was 21, which he hit twice (at Miami on Sept. 7 and vs. Chicago on Oct. 26). He shattered that total in this game with 60 (including penalties), as the Patriots favored a pass-first approach out of their two-receiver/two-tight end/one-running back package with Rob Gronkowski and Wright as the tight ends. With Wright known as more of a receiving tight end, it set him up for his most extended opportunities of the season. He delivered with two touchdown receptions, giving him six this season.
Special teams come up big: Ryan Allen's 66-yard punt in the first quarter was one of the most underrated plays of the game for the Patriots. First, Allen had to scoop up a low, rolling snap. Second, the Patriots trailed 3-0 at the time and were punting from their own 14, so the Lions were set up to have good field position. But the booming punt shifted field position, the Patriots' defense held, and after the offense scored on the next possession, the Patriots never trailed again. In the second quarter, Danny Amendola's 81-yard kickoff return set up a touchdown. Those were two big plays by special-teams units.
Injuries to monitor: Starting left guard Dan Connolly left the game in the fourth quarter and had his left foot/ankle looked at on the sideline by the athletic training staff. He headed to the locker room under his own power and did not return. Also, cornerback Kyle Arrington left the game in the third quarter with a head injury and returned to play on special teams but not on defense. The head injury was a result of a hit from teammate Duron Harmon. The game was also stopped late in the fourth quarter for receiver Brandon LaFell after he made a diving catch, but he walked off under his own power (and did not return). He had his left shoulder looked at on the sideline.
Stat of note: The Patriots have won 14 straight games against NFC North opponents, a streak extending back to 2002.
What's next: The Patriots visit the Packers next Sunday (4:25 p.m. ET) in a highly anticipated meeting between two teams viewed by some as the NFL's best.