Panthers Close Out Preseason With 26-17 Loss to Lions

There has been much hoopla about Carolina Panthers rookie quarterback Bryce Young. That’s what happens when the team trades up to take the former Heisman Trophy winner and loses on of its most dynamic playmakers in DJ Moore. With one last preseason game to go, Young had played six total live reps in the NFL and the offense had failed to score with him under center. With a new coaching staff and several new faces on the offensive side of the ball, the Panthers had played it safe thus far, employing what they consider a “vanilla” offensive scheme. In the team’s final tune up, would fans at least be given French vanilla, or at the very least, some sprinkles? Being that Carolina faces the Detroit Lions not only in Friday night’s game but also in the regular season, it was not anticipated that head coach Frank Reich would be showing his hand.

A promising opening drive stalled at the 23 yard line and Carolina settled for a 41-yard field goal by Eddy Pineiro, back from injury. On the second drive, Young finally hit pay dirt when he connected with Adam Thielen for a 16-yard touchdown to give the Panthers a 10-0 lead  with 2:26 left in the first quarter. That was enough and Andy Dalton took over at quarterback for the remainder of the half.  Panthers cornerback CJ Henderson was flagged for defensive pass interference, giving Detroit the ball on the 7-yard line with a fresh set of downs. Riley Patterson connected on a 25-yard field goal; combined with the earlier touchdown run by Craig Reynolds, the score was knotted at 10 with 7:42 left in the first half.

The Lions went on a 20-0 run to close out the half; including 10 points in the last 40 seconds of the half thanks to back to back turnovers by the Panthers. On the Detroit 14-yard line, Dalton was intercepted in the end zone by cornerback Chase Lucas. Three plays later, Bridgewater connected with Antoine Green for a 70-yard touchdown to go up 17-10. On the next possession, Panthers running back Camerun Peoples got his very first touch of the preseason and fumbled the ball; it was recovered by Detroit deep in Carolina territory. A 27-yard field goal by Patterson sent the Lions into the half with a 20-10 lead. Former Panther Teddy Bridgewater was 13-of-22 for 178 yards and one touchdown en route to a quarterback rating of 100.2 while Young finished 7-of-12 for 73 yards, one touchdown, and a rating of 103.8. He also added 21 yards on the ground on three scrambles. Dalton was 6-of-11 for 60 yards, one interception, and a rating of 32.4.

Matt Corral entered the game at quarterback in the third quarter and had an impressive 27 yard scramble to sustain what would end up being a scoring drive when Spencer Brown punched it in from 4 yards out to bring the Panthers within 3 with 4:00 left in the third quarter. Jake Luton entered the game with 6:23 remaining in the fourth quarter and threw a pick six to Steven Gilmore to increase the Lions lead to 26-17 with a little over 3 minutes to play. The closest the Panthers got the rest of the way was an interesting play at the Detroit 1-yard line where it was ruled that Peoples didn’t have possession of the ball as he rolled out of the end zone. The result was a touchback, making the final score 26-17 in favor of the Lions.

The regular season 53-man roster deadline is Tuesday and the Panthers will begin making cuts as early as tomorrow. Their next game action will be a Week One matchup on the road against NFC South division rivals the Atlanta Falcons.

Sheena Quick
Sports mom/accountant/life-long athlete and lover of all sports.