The Lions though ran out of gas about two thirds of the way into the 3rd quarter. They fought and fought and kept the score close and in fact led for a decent amount of time. Then the Patriots who have a solidly built team decided the Lions defense wasn't as good as they appeared and starting scoring... to the tune of 4 touchdowns in a row to finish the game 24 to 45.
The complete box score / stats can be found at http://www.nfl.com/gamecenter/2010112500/2010/REG12/patriots@lions#tab:analyze
The patched together Lions offense did okay until the chips were down, they simply can't keep their composure and play a full 60 minutes of exerting their will on an opponent. The closer to the end of the game it gets, the more tense they play, and the more errors are made. That said, 24 points isn't bad for an offense in the NFL, if your defense can stop the opponent from scoring.
The Lions defense wore down shortly after half time and before long there was little pressure at all on Tom Brady. Tom Brady without pressure is a sure fire way to lose a football game. The Lions defense was running on empty by the end of the game.
Were they running on empty because they were down on the offense for not scoring more? For the officiating? For the mistakes each player continually made... compounding the negative? I'm not sure. Were the coaches unable to settle the players down and get them to re-focus? Or, would it not matter who the coaching staff was there would be no re-focusing them? Was it lack of depth to keep fresh minds and bodies in the game? Lack of talent? Lack of preparation? All the above? None of the above? Everyone is going to have their opinion on what it was... for myself, I think it was a tablespoon of this and a teaspoon of that. The simple recipe of a half rebuilt Lions team playing against a fully built Patriots team on a national stage when the one team hasn't learned how to handle a lead, or a win, was a recipe for disaster and almost everyone knew that in August, let alone in November.
Until the team starts having fun playing, until they quit tensing up, until their confidence is built, things are going to remain ugly. Problem is, it takes wins to do that, and it takes that to win.
The Lions have a couple extra days to heal up before they start preparing for the Bears at home... if ever there was a time to go full throttle for a full hour this next game would be it, it's not going to get any easier the rest of the year.