Rookie running back Kerryon Johnson had 101 yards rushing on 16 carries, becoming the first player to reach the mark for the Lions since Reggie Bush ran for 117 yards against the Green Bay Packers in November, 2013.
The Lions (1-2) looked vastly improved from their opening two defeats under first-year coach, Matt Patricia, who beat former boss and mentor Bill Belichick.
The Patriots (1-2) have lost two of their first three games of an NFL season for the first time since 2012.
Patriots 0-3 Lions: Matt Prater 38-yard field goal
Patriots 0-10 Lions: Matthew Stafford four-yard touchdown pass to Kenny Golladay (Prater extra point good)
Patriots 0-13 Lions: Prater 25-yard field goal
Patriots 3-13 Lions: Stephen Gostkowski 36-yard field goal
Patriots 10-13 Lions: Tom Brady 10-yard touchdown pass to James White (Gostkowski extra point good)
Patriots 10-20 Lions: Stafford 33-yard touchdown pass to Marvin Jones (Prater extra point good)
Patriots 10-23 Lions: Prater 32-yard field goal
Patriots 10-26 Lions: Prater 30-yard field goal