FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — The New England Patriots traded Pro Bowl guard Logan Mankins to Tampa Bay on Aug. 26 for tight end Tim Wright. On Oct. 22, they acquired linebacker Akeem Ayers from Tennessee in a trade. Two days later, they traded for linebacker Jonathan Casillas from Tampa Bay.

And last Thursday, two days after running back LeGarrette Blount was banished from Pittsburgh, the Patriots signed him to bolster their running game.

It’s moves like these that often separate the Patriots from other teams. And they’re already paying off.

All four of those additions played key roles in the Patriots ’34-9 shellacking of the Detroit Lions Sunday afternoon at Gillette Stadium.

Wright caught two touchdown passes, giving him six on the year. Blount rushed for 78 yards and two short touchdowns. Ayers and Casillas each had three tackles, with Ayers getting his third sack since coming to the Patriots.

“That’s why it’s so great to be part of this team,” said tight end Rob Gronkowski. “Anyone can contribute at any time.”

Blount’s contributions were perhaps the most surprising, because he just arrived. But, said right guard Ryan Wendell, it also showed how much he wanted to play.

“It says a lot about him,” said Wendell. “It says how hard he worked this week to get back in the rhythm of things. He didn’t skip a beat.”

Blount was New England’s second-leading rusher a year ago – one yard behind Stevan Ridley. He signed with Pittsburgh in the offseason but was released after going to the locker room before the end of Pittsburgh’s game Monday night.

Bill Belichick and Tom Brady were certainly glad to have him back.

“I thought LG ran good,” said Belichick. “He had a good week, worked hard to get ready this week.”

Brady added, “He’s a big guy, he runs hard, and once he breaks your defense he’s got a little bit of explosion, so it was great to see him on a couple of those big runs. We’re going to need a lot more of it.”

Blount, who had 266 rushing yards for Pittsburgh, wasn’t sure what his role would be.

“I didn’t know what to expect,” he said. “I didn’t assume anything. They told me to come in there and be ready for any role they put me in, and I just came in prepared doing whatever they wanted me to do.”

Wright, meanwhile, continues to be a nice story. The trade of Mankins – and subsequent horrible offensive line play in New England’s first four games – created an outcry against the deal. But Wright has quietly become a big weapon for Brady, especially in the red zone. Five of his six touchdown catches have come within eight yards of the end zone. The other was from the 17. Sunday, his scores were from four and eight yards.

Asked how Wright gets that open each week, Brady laughed and said, “We ask ourselves the same thing. Every time we throw to him it’s a touchdown. We’ll try to find him more down there. He does a great job in the coverage and finds the open spots.”

Wright, who has 23 catches for the year, also laughed when asked how he gets open.

“We’ve got a lot of great guys out there, man,” he said. “It’s just a lot of people to name. And Tom does a great job back there and the line does a great job of protection. He can sit back and see the whole field and that’s what he does. He delivers the ball, and we’ve just got to bring it in.”

JONAS GRAY, who burst onto the scene (and the cover of Sports Illustrated) by rushing for 201 yards and four touchdowns last week, did not play. He was late to practice Friday and was sent home by Belichick. And unlike cornerback Darrelle Revis, who was late to a practice before the Patriots played Chicago but didn’t miss a snap, Gray sat this one out.

No one would say whether he was benched for disciplinary reasons. “We do what we think is best,” said Belichick. “That’s what we did today,”

Revis said everyone on the team understands the rules.

“I’m heartbroken in a way because of what he accomplished the week before,” said Revis. “But Jonas understands. Everyone on the team understands. You arrive late, Bill doesn’t like that.”

Gray spoke to the media afterward but wouldn’t address what happened.

“We’re moving past that,” he said. “I’m glad we got the team win. I think it would’ve stung more if I didn’t play and we had lost the game. I’m happy for these guys. I wish I was able to contribute to the win, but you know I was glad we came out with the victory. These guys played great.”