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Thursday, November 25, 2010
Wrap-up: Patriots 45, Lions 24

By Kevin Seifert

A few thoughts on another late collapse by the Lions:

What it means: The Lions dropped to 2-9 on the season, ensuring themselves a 10th consecutive losing season. They have now lost their past seven Thanksgiving Day games and nine of their past 10.

A harsh lesson: Trailing 14-3 in the first half, the Patriots stayed cool, made a few offensive adjustments and roared back to score the final 28 points of the game. The Lions, on the other hand, melted down on defense -- particularly cornerback Alphonso Smith -- and watched quarterback Shaun Hill throw a critical interception in the third quarter.

The goat: A national television audience got an idea why the Denver Broncos gave up on Smith after one season. Smith was the closest defender on three of quarterback Tom Brady's touchdown passes, but it was his tackling that was atrocious and not worthy of a professional football field. Most notably, he was way too high on Patriots running back BenJarvus Green-Ellis on a 15-yard touchdown run and got twisted out of his Underoos on a 79-yard catch-and-run by receiver Deion Branch. With all of that said, I'm not a fan of the Lions' decision to bench him in favor of veteran Nate Vasher. I'm all for accountability, but I also think it's obvious the Lions don't know how to respond to adversity. You don't give a young player like Smith a chance to learn if he's standing on the sideline.

More slop: In case you forgot, this game was tied at 24 when the fourth quarter began. After that point the Lions were called for seven penalties, two of which were declined. Tight end Brandon Pettigrew lost track of where he was on the field, stepped out of bounds, and then stepped back in illegally to catch a pass. Meanwhile, receiver Bryant Johnson dropped another touchdown pass. That's pretty much the definition of a 45-minute team.

Congratulations in order: Brady finished with a perfect passer rating of 158.3 after completing 21 of 27 passes for 341 yards, four touchdowns and no interceptions.

Early pressure: The Lions battered Brady early in the game. Defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh notched his eighth sack of the season.

Little Best: Rookie tailback Jahvid Best wasn't a factor because of turf toe. Maurice Morris and Aaron Brown combined for a better-than-expected 91 rushing yards on 22 carries.

What's next: The Lions will host the Chicago Bears on Dec. 5, the first of three late-season home games against NFC North rivals.