By: Ian Logue/
November 24, 2002

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Written November 23, 2000
Final Score: Detroit: 34, Patriots: 9

PONTIAC, MI -- The Patriots allowed 28 unanswered second half points to the Detroit Lions and found themselves on the wrong end of a 34-9 loss during Thursday's Thanksgiving day match-up at the Pontiac Silverdome.

New England actually lead 9-6 early in the third quarter, but from that point on they fell apart, committing two key interceptions and costly penalties which helped hand the game over to the Lions.

Belichick said after the game that the mistake-ridden second half was the difference in the game.

"We gave the game away in the second half," said Belichick. "They capitalized on our mistakes and we didn't capitalize on some of the opportunities we had earlier in the game. You can't make those kind of mistakes on the road and give away points like we gave them along with penalties and a couple turnovers."

"That's really what lead to the points was penalties and turnovers, it's lead to a lot of them."

It was a penalty that helped set up the Lions first touchdown. Following a 40-yard kickoff return by Desmond Howard, Chris Floyd committed a 15-yard personal foul penalty which gave the Lions the ball at the New England 46-yard line. Following passes of 23 and 13 yards, Detroit quarterback Charlie Batch found David Sloan from 1-yard out and put the Lions up 13-9 in the 3rd quarter.

The next Lions touchdown was also a result of a New England penalty. A 15-yard roughing the passer penalty on Lawyer Milloy gave the Lions 1st-and-10 at the New England 26-yard line, and runningback James Stewart would finish off the drive, leaping in from 1-yard out and putting Detroit up 20-9 with 11:18 remaining in the game.

And Detroit wouldn't look back.

On the ensuing drive Drew Bledsoe was intercepted by Lions quarterback Marquis Walker, who returned the ball to the New England 15. Batch Later scored on a 10 yard scramble, and the Lions lead was now 27-9.

Lions defensive back Bryant Westbrook put the game away for good at 34-9 after Bledsoe drove the Patriots down the field and was picked off in the endzone by Westbrook who returned it 101 yards for a touchdown.

Bledsoe was replaced by Tom Brady on New England's next possession.

Bledsoe said after the game that when he came off the field Belichick said, "Way to keep fighting, we're going to with Brady for a little while."

"I was planning on staying in," said Bledsoe on whether or not he would have pulled himself out on his own at that point. "That was [Belichick's] call to put Tom in there, and that's the way it will be. I'll play until someone tells me differently."

He went on to say that they made things very tough on themselves with the mistakes they made.

"The Lions are a good team and we knew that we had to play extremely well today to come in here and beat them at their place on Thanksgiving," said Bledsoe. "That being said we did make things very hard on ourselves with the mistakes that we made. I'm not going to stand here and say that we beat ourselves because they played a good game and they deserved to win the game, but we also made enough mistakes that it would be hard to overcome them against anybody that we were playing."

Bledsoe finished the afternoon 17-of-32 for 148 yards, but the two interceptions proved costly. With four games remaining New England will need to stop making the repeated mistakes and penalties that has made their 2000 campaign one that they'd probably like to forget.

Nevertheless it didn't make today's result any easier, and quarterback Drew Bledsoe will have to get over a game that he said afterwards is going to be very tough for him to deal with.

"I've played this game and you play to win," said Bledsoe. "When you lose a game like this and throw two interceptions that end up being the key in the game, for me it just cuts right to the heart of who I am."

"It really is very, very tough to deal with."

Unfortunately he'll have the next week and a half to think about it. New England's next game is a week from Monday against the Kansas City Chiefs.