This season has been one for the ages when looking at how many times the Lions have lost a close game in the final quarter. Things were no different on Sunday when Detroit was in total control all day against the Patriots until the fourth quarter. Leading by a score of 21-13 at one point in the fourth, Detroit appeared to have an actual shot at the huge upset. But, just as usual, a few turnovers took away that chance and allowed New England to come away with a 28-21 victory.
This game was a stalemate early on as both teams just couldn't get much going offensively. Plus, every time a drive got down into opposition's territory, some blown play would change that quickly. I was actually surprised at how well Detroit's defense played in the first quarter. The Lions were trailing overall 3-0, but the fact that the Detroit was still even in the game at this point shocked me.
For Detroit, the second quarter is when they got the ball moving a little bit and started to establish that this would be a close game. Mike Furrey caught a 5 yard touchdown pass from Jon Kitna to give Detroit a 7-3 lead, and then much later on in the quarter Jason Hanson kicked his first of what would be many field goals. At that point in the game, Detroit held a surprising 10-3 lead.
New England finally got something on offense. After being shut down all day, Tom Brady handed off to Corey Dillon from 6 yards out to tie the game up as Dillon reached the endzone. Then, just as the half was expiring, New England took the lead via a 27 yard Stephen Gostkowski field goal. 13-10 Pats after 30 minutes of play.
With Detroit still in this game, it would be up to the defense to continue their high level of play and the offense to get some points. One of those things were true. The offense's drought of activity continued, but points would come in a different way.
Jason Hanson first kicked a pair of field goals, one from 38 and the other from 49 yards out. Then, Tom Brady dropped back to pass and had the ball knocked loose into his own endzone. Lucky for him, another Patriots player fell on it to prevent a touchdown, but the Lions ended up with a safety out of it. Using some of that momentum, Jason Hanson nailed another field goal upping the score to 21-13 before everything fell apart.
With the Lions, this was usually the time in which everything came undone and Detroit blew a lead. That was once again the case in Foxboro. Corey Dillon rushed in from 2 yards out and a converted two-point conversion was good to tie the score at 21. Before he was done for the day, Dillon found the promise land one more time for his third touchdown of the game. Dillon's game-winning touchdown came with just over 2 minutes, leaving the Lions with some time to hope.
Unfortunately, the ball would barely go anywhere thanks to a bad decision by Jon Kitna. Kitna scrambled away from pressure and threw it up in the air hoping to avoid just avoid the sack. Instead, Mike Vrabel intercepted the pass and ensured a 28-21 New England victory.
The biggest game of this story for me was the amount of turnovers. The Patriots played very poorly considering they had 3 turnovers. That's very rare when playing such a good team like New England. Detroit did capitalize once or twice off of a New England mistake, but more or not it was the Pats coming away with points following a Detroit fumble or interception. In total, the Lions had 5 turnovers and because of that, couldn't come away with a win.
With four games left on the schedule for this season, Detroit plays their second to last home game at Ford Field this coming Sunday. The Vikings come to town with Detroit looking to finally end a losing streak against Minnesota that has been building up higher and higher. Kickoff is slated for 1:00 p.m. ET on FOX.