It was always going to be a tall task for the Carolina Panthers limping into Detroit with an 0-4 start, a sputtering offense, and a host of injuries on both sides of the ball. They certainly did not make it any easier on themselves as self-inflicted wounds continued into Week Five. The Detroit Lions have been playing some pretty good football and gift wrapping them 21 points off turnovers will hardly ever bode well – especially in the first half of the game.
The Lions scored on four of their five first half drives, with one drive ending in a turnover on downs. Panthers rookie quarterback Bryce Young bounced back from the interception by leading a touchdown drive on the next possession. His 1-yard touchdown pass to Tommy Tremble brought the Panthers within 7 with 12:48 to play in the first half. After forcing a turnover on downs, Carolina gave the Lions the ball right back as running back Miles Sanders fumbled and the ball was recovered by Detroit’s Will Harris who was pushed out of bounds at the Carolina 38 yard line. The Lions capitalized with quarterback Jared Goff connecting with Josh Reynolds for a 1-yard touchdown and a 21-7 lead with 3:50 left in the second quarter. To add insult to injury, Young was intercepted by Jerry Jacobs on the Panthers very next play from scrimmage. The turnover led to tight end Sam LaPorta’s second touchdown of the day and gave the Lions an even more commanding 28-7 lead. With one last opportunity to put a dent in the lead, Carolina’s drive stalled at the 15 yard line and an Eddy Pineiro field goal made the score 28-10 at the half.
The Lions first punt did not come until the 8:43 mark of the third quarter with the game squarely put away. The two teams traded touchdown drives in the fourth quarter with Detroit ultimately claiming a 42-24 victory to send the Panthers to 0-5 ahead of a road matchup against the potent Miami Dolphins. Goff finished 20-of-28 for 236 yards and three touchdowns while his counterpart Young finished 25-of-41 for 247 yards, three touchdowns, and two interceptions. The Lions rushing prowess continued this week with David Montgomery racking up 109 yards and a touchdown on nineteen carries. Craig Reynolds added 52 yards and a touchdown on seven carries. Chuba Hubbard led the Panthers with 35 yards on nine carries, while Miles Sanders added 32 on the ground. Adam Thielen led all receivers with eleven catches for 107 yards and a touchdown. The Lions used a balanced air attack, amassing 236 receiving yards with Josh Reynolds leading the way with 76 yards and a touchdown. LaPorta found the end zone twice and finished with three catches for 47 yards.
The Panthers limp into Hard Rock Stadium trying to avoid going into the bye week 0-6.