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Replay: Patriots Unfiltered Fri Nov 27 - 12:00 AM | Sun Nov 29 - 10:40 AM

Patriots get gobbled up by Lions, 34-9

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            **Pontiac, Mich. –** In perhaps a worse performance than the one witnessed in Cleveland two weeks ago, the Patriots simply fell apart in the second half against the Lions and were eaten for Thanksgiving dinner to the tune of 34-9. Give thanks Patriots fans. Only four games left.  

It doesn't take much to motivate the Lions on Thanksgiving Day. They're used to playing on the third Thursday every November. But when Lawyer Milloy leveled their quarterback in the fourth quarter on a late hit, it was all Detroit needed.

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            At the time, the score was 13-9, Lions. Detroit had started its drive on its own 30. Two James Stewart runs and a couple of passes moved the ball to the Pats 41. That's when Milloy laid a hit on Batch that put him temporarily out action. Stoney Case replaced him and completed a pass to Herman Moore for 10 yards. A catch and run by Sedrick Irvin put the ball on the goal line (Detroit called for a replay to see if the ball had crossed the line to no avail).  

Batch returned and tried a keeper but fell short. James Stewart did not on the next play for the score.

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            Up 20-9, Detroit went on defense and proceeded to pick off Drew Bledsoe on the Patriots next possession. As Bledsoe rolled left and threw to avoid pressure, Detroit's Marquis Walker stepped in front of Troy Brown for the pick. Three plays later, it was Batch running it in from 11 yards out. From a 6-6 tie at halftime, New England now found itself down 27-9.  

Batch would not return, out with bruised ribs, but the damage was done to New England and yes, it could get worse.

New England looked like it might attempt to make the final score somewhat respectable when they drove down to the Lions 6-yard line. Like Batch, Bledsoe had become the victim of a late-hit penalty.

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            He also ran the ball himself four times. Perhaps he should have kept it on the ground. On third and 7 from the 7, Bledsoe looked to the right corner of the end zone for Terry Glenn only to have Bryant Westbrook take the ball the other way for 101 yards.  

Bledsoe's day was done as Tom Brady came in to relieve him. The Patriots finished the turkey of a day losing 34-9.

It didn't take long for the Lions to make some gravy to begin the game. On the game's first play from scrimmage, Batch hit David Sloan over the middle and the tight end rumbled 59 yards, shrugging off Lawyer Milloy along the way.

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            That brought Detroit down to the New England 14, but after a botched third down shotgun play where Batch took his eye off the snap, the Lions were forced to settle for a 31-yard field goal.  

New England answered back with a pass-only drive that began at the Patriots 16 and wound up on the Lions goal line. Terry Glenn had three catches during it, one of the spectacular variety when he adjusted to a ball thrown behind him to net 40 yards.

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            But once on the Lions doorstep, New England turned to the run. Patrick Pass was stuffed, as was Tony Carter. Bledsoe looked to pass on third down, saw nothing, and began to bootleg left. Just as he was about to score, the Lions Stephen Boyd denied him with a solid hit. On fourth down, the Patriots thought about going for the touchdown but a 5-yard delay of game penalty made them think twice and they wound up with a 24-yard field goal for the tie at three.  

An all out blitz stopped Detroit on third and 7 on their next drive. New England came from all angles and Kato Serwanga stripped Batch and recovered the fumble. The Patriots were in good shape on the Lions 32 but two incomplete passes and a Patrick Pass run for 3 yards forced a 47-yard Vinatieri field goal for a 6-3 Patriots lead. The field goal battle was on.

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            The Lions answered the call after Desmond Howard took the Patriots kickoff 45 yards to give his team good field position. Passes to Herman Moore, Johnnie Morton and Walter Rasby got Detroit as far as the New England 18 before they converted a 37-yard field goal to tie the game at 6.  

New England opened the second half with a 10-play, 60-yard drive that resulted in Adam Vinatieri's third field goal on the day, a 43-yarder. Tony Carter had the biggest play, a 15-yard catch that put the Patriots at midfield.

Howard once again had a nice return on a Patriots kickoff and it was made even better by a questionable roughness call on Chris Floyd that tacked on 15 yards. The Lions began their next drive on the Patriots 46. Two passes to Morton, one for 23 yards and another for 13 quickly had the Lions within striking distance.

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            A Batch run from the 4-yard line came up short as Antonio Langham made the tackle on the goal line. On fourth down, Detroit went for the touchdown. Under pressure, Batch found his tight end Sloan, who appeared to have come from out of bounds in the back of the end zone. The refs thought otherwise and the game's first touchdown, as well as a 13-9 lead with the point-after, belonged to the Lions.  

It went quickly downhill from there as missed tackles, dumb penalties and some questionable play-calling sealed the Patriots fate. They will have a good 10 days to lick their wounds and then it's back on the field Monday night to face the Kansas City Chiefs.

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