The Patriots know how to finish games. The Lions just finish themselves off.
Corey Dillon scored two of his three touchdowns in the last 8:35, Detroit turned the ball over on its last three possessions and New England avoided a stunning upset.
Dillon gave the Patriots their first lead of the second half on a 4-yard score with 2:33 left, backing up Tom Brady's belief that the Patriots nearly always have a chance to win.
"Any time there's time left on the clock, we think we can," he said. "For so much of that game we didn't play with much energy or enthusiasm."
The Lions took an 18-13 lead after fullback Heath Evans was tackled in the end zone for a safety when he fell on Brady's fumble. Jason Hanson's 26-yard field goal, his fourth of the game, made it 21-13 less than two minutes into the fourth quarter.
New England was sloppy and undisciplined for much of the day, with 10 penalties and four turnovers. Last week the Patriots had five turnovers but still beat Chicago.
QUOTABLE: "I though we did an excellent job of overcoming adversity, but I let them down. I can't feel any worse." - Lions quarterback Jon Kitna