Berrios

Lions defensive back Andrew Adams attempts to tackle Patriots wide receiver Braxton Berrios on Thursday night.

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — “Friendly reminder: Preseason is a liar. It’s fooled many over the years. Be careful.”

Those words of wisdom, offered in a tweet from the NFL Network’s Daniel Jeremiah on Friday morning, appeared to be in regards to no preseason game in particular but they certainly applied to the Patriots’ 31-3 preseason-opening win over the Detroit Lions at Ford Field on Thursday night.

So proceed with caution.

Yes, the Patriots manhandled the Lions from start to finish, as their 459 yards in total offense to Detroit’s 93, their 26-9 and 38:46-21:14 advantages in first downs and time of possession and nine sacks in the game all attest, but, to paraphrase what the winning head coach might say, “it was what it was.”

Still, it was a solid start, albeit one that was largely a battle of the backups following a week in which the two teams matched up together in joint practices at the Lions’ facility in Allen Park, Mich.

“I thought our guys played competitively and that’s always good,” Bill Belichick told reporters in Detroit after the game, “but we’ve got a long way to go. There’s a lot of things we need to do better, but that’s this time of year so we’ll just keep working.”

Speaking to reporters on a conference call on Friday, Belichick called the week a success.

“We got a lot of good one-on-one work, we got a lot of good individual work, and we got a lot of good teamwork” said Belichick, adding “I believe that was beneficial to do against the Lions.”

For what it’s worth, on a night when most of the team’s regulars (including quarterback Tom Brady) were given the night off:

• Veteran backup Brian Hoyer (12 for 14 for 147 yards and two touchdowns with no interceptions for a passer rating of 150.0 that approached perfection) was at the top of his game, looking the best he has since he returned to New England in 2017;

• Fourth-round draft pick Jarrett Stidham (14 for 24 for 179 yards and one TD with no interceptions) celebrated his 23rd birthday by showing promise;

• Free-agent wide receiver Jakobi Meyers (six catches for 69 yards and two TDs) showed the ability to carry what he’s been doing in training camp practices over to game conditions;

• Second-year wide receiver Braxton Berrios, who spent his rookie season on injured reserve, caught three passes in three targets for 45 yards and returned four punts for 35 (he had an 18-yarder negated by two penalties) and;

• 2017 third-round draft pick Derek Rivers (two sacks) and 2019 third-round choise Chase Winovich (1½) led a constant attack from the edge.

All positives, indeed.

The Patriots’ game wasn’t without its flaws, though.

On the down side:

• While he flashed the type of ability that prompted the Patriots to make him a first-round draft choice N’Keal Harry (two impressive catches for 36 yards), who appeared to injure his hamstring during the teams’ joint practice on Tuesday, appeared to reinjure himself late in the first quarter;

• A tight end position where the pickings are already slim took a hit when offseason free-agent acquisition Matt LaCosse (two receptions for 37 yards but a holding penalty on the game’s first possession) exited with an injury at the two-minute warning in the first half;