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Originally published Thursday, November 25, 2010 at 9:12 PM

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Lions lose Thanksgiving game for 7th straight year | NFL notebook

Detroit has lost a franchise-record seven straight games — by an average of nearly 23 points — in its annual Thanksgiving showcase.

DETROIT — Tom Brady was perfect on the field and his exit was first class.

Brady threw a season-high four touchdown passes, all in the second half, and the New England Patriots routed the Detroit Lions 45-24 on Thursday after trailing by 11 late in the second quarter.

"We showed some resiliency, coming out in the second half and playing the way we did when the crowd was into it," Brady said.

Following Brady's brief news conference, the former Michigan star jogged out of Ford Field — limping slightly up a steep ramp — hugged Robert Kraft and got into an idling limo with the team owner behind a police escort.

New England (9-2) remained tied with its AFC East rival New York Jets for the NFL's best record, setting up a showdown at home Dec. 6.

"I don't think we're at where we need to be at," Brady said. "But this is a tough group."

After taking a ton of shots early in the game, Brady bounced back to complete 21 of 27 passes for 341 yards with no interceptions, giving him a perfect quarterback rating of 158.3 for the second time in his career.

"He's like a surgeon," Detroit center Dominic Raiola said.

Former Seahawks receiver Deion Branch had 113 yards receiving and scored two touchdowns for New England.

The Lions (2-9) are used to things going wrong, especially on Thanksgiving. Detroit has lost a franchise-record seven straight games — by an average of nearly 23 points — in its annual showcase.

Former Seahawk Maurice Morris ran for two TDs, matching his total in two seasons with Detroit.

Jets 26, Bengals 10


One shoe or two, Brad Smith was too much for the Bengals.

Smith, the Jets' Mr. Everything, scored on an 89-yard kickoff return during which he lost his left shoe and also had a 53-yard touchdown run in New York's 26-10 victory over Cincinnati on Thursday night.

Hours after New England beat Detroit to improve to 9-2, New York matched the Patriots and the Jets are off to the second-best start in team history — eclipsed only by the 1986 squad that won 10 of its first 11. And the Jets did it by overcoming a sluggish first half and sending the struggling Bengals (2-9) to their eighth straight loss.

The Jets and Patriots meet for the AFC East lead in their next game, a meaty Monday night matchup at New England.


• Chargers star tight end Antonio Gates was in pain as he tried to practice in a limited role Thursday. Gates has missed the last two games because of a torn plantar fascia in his right foot.

• Receiver Roddy White and defensive end John Abraham returned to practice Thursday for the Atlanta Falcons, but did not fully participate in the two-hour session. White leads the NFL in catches and ranks second in yards receiving.

Terrence McGee missed practice Thursday a day after aggravating a knee injury, leaving the Buffalo Bills cornerback questionable to play against Pittsburgh this weekend. On the bright side, rookie running back C.J. Spiller has a chance to play Sunday after practicing for the first time since hurting his right hamstring Nov. 14.

• Tennessee offensive coordinator Mike Heimerdinger is back at work and will call the plays Sunday when the Titans visit the Houston Texans before starting his treatment for cancer Monday. Coach Jeff Fisher said football is Heimerdinger's love and passion. Focusing on his job offers a break for Heimerdinger.

• Redskins running back Clinton Portis was placed on injured reserve because of a torn muscle in his lower abdomen. His season ends with a career-low 227 yards on 54 carries with two touchdowns.

The Black Eyed Peas will be the featured halftime performer at the Super Bowl. The Grammy award-winning group will perform Feb. 6 at Cowboys Stadium.

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