FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- The New England Patriots showed off their passing game one week after a brilliant rushing performance.
The outcome was the same: a blowout win over a top team.
Throw in a defense that held the Detroit Lions without a touchdown and two outstanding special teams plays, and the team with the AFC's best record rolled over the team with the NFL's stingiest defense, 34-9 on Sunday, for their seventh straight win.
"Everyone is linked together," quarterback Tom Brady said, "so we all feed off each other - offense, defense, special teams."
The Patriots (9-2) have such depth that Jonas Gray didn't even play one week after rushing 37 times for 201 yards and four touchdowns in a 42-20 win over the Indianapolis Colts. He was sent away from Friday's practice for reporting late, just one day after Blount signed. Blount was cut by Pittsburgh last Tuesday, the day after he walked to the locker room as the Steelers were lining up for the last play.
"He's never been a problem for us," defensive tackle Vince Wilfork said. "It was a good welcome back for him today."
"We blew a lot of coverage," Detroit linebacker DeAndre Levy said. "They sped up the tempo a bit and I think we lost our composure."
The Patriots routed a division leader for the third straight week, following wins over Denver and Indianapolis. They visit Green Bay, which began the day tied with Detroit for the NFC North lead, next Sunday.
In their last five games, the Lions (7-4) have led for 45 minutes, 53 seconds, been tied for 44 minutes, 17 seconds and trailed for 209 minutes, 50 seconds, according to STATS.
For the second straight week, they lost to a conference leader, having fallen to Arizona 14-6 a week earlier
But they didn't score a touchdown in either game.
The Lions bore little resemblance to the team that had allowed the fewest points in the NFL. They had given up just 68.6 yards rushing per game, so Brady threw frequently - and quickly to avoid the rush.
He finished with 38 completions in 53 attempts with one interception, with Julian Edelman catching 11 passes for the highest-scoring team in the NFL.
"Ever since I've been here, the coach has put it in my ears that football season starts after Thanksgiving," Edelman said.
The Lions managed just three field goals by Matt Prater as Stafford completed 18 of 46 passes for 264 yards and one interception while the Patriots shut down his two star receivers. Golden Tate had just four catches after entering the game third in the NFL with 68. Johnson was held to four receptions for 58 yards.
Detroit lost 6 yards on the series after the punt. Then, New England took a 7-3 lead on the next possession on Brady's 4-yard pass to Tim Wright.
The Lions came back to get a first-and-goal at the 3, but managed just a 20-yard field goal by Prater.
Amendola's long return on the subsequent kickoff set the Patriots up at the Detroit 22. And when they also got a first-and-goal at the 3, they took full advantage on the next play with a touchdown run by Blount less than a minute after Prater's field goal.
Copyright 2014 by The Associated Press