The Patriots’ third exhibition game on Thursday night against the Lions was oddly reminiscent of the last time New England played its third exhibition here in 2011.

In both considered dress rehearsals for starters the Patriots’ offense struggled mightily against the Lions’ top defense this year anchored by tackles Ndamukong Suh and Nick Fairley.

On Thursday night the Patriots committed four first-half turnovers and converted just 1 of 7 third-down opportunities before intermission though the Lions’ own offensive struggles meant New England trailed just 16-3 at the half.

But the Patriots’ second- and third-string defenses let the game get away in the second half resulting in a 40-9 loss at Ford Field.

As Tom Brady and Logan Mankins noted earlier in the week coach Bill Belichick reminded his players about the 2011 meeting several times in the days leading up to the trip not wanting history to repeat itself. That it did only makes things worse.

“He’s the best coach for a reason” Brady said of Belichick. “He’s been coaching a long time; he sees things coming. Almost foreshadowing it and telling us ‘Look this is what we’re getting ourselves into . . . We’re going to come in here and we’re going to get their best.’ And we did. And we weren’t prepared for it.

“It’s a good lesson for us; I hope we learn from it. These games are tough. It’s hard to win when you don’t play well.”

“We predicted it we discussed what could happen” Devin McCourty said. “[The Lions] didn’t play as well as they wanted to [in a loss to Cleveland a week earlier]. We didn’t match their level of intensity.”

The problems began on New England’s first possession.

In Lions’ territory after a 37-yard pass from Brady to rookie Kenbrell Thompkins Brady sought out tight end Zach Sudfeld on second down from the 30. Sudfeld made the catch and was at the 10 when safety Glover Quin got his helmet on the ball forcing a fumble. Louis Delmas scooped up the loose ball ending a drive that looked like it was headed for the end zone.