In Depth Game Review: Carolina Panthers Vs Detroit Lions

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The Detroit Lions Upset The Carolina Panthers At Ford Field On Sunday. 

First Quarter

Carolina started the game with the ball and had no issues moving down the field. It took quarterback Cam Newton just 10 plays to go 90 yards, leading the Panthers into the end zone with a one-yard pass to tight end Greg Olson.

The Lions had a strong answer behind the legs of rookie running back Kerryon Johnson. Johnson totaled 45 yards on the opening drive alone, including a touchdown rush from eight yards out to tie the game at seven.

Score: Tied at 7

Second Quarter

Neither team was able to do much for the majority of the second quarter. It started with four consecutive punts.

Finally, on their third drive of the quarter, the Lions were able to take their first lead of the game. KJohnson had another 30 yards on this possession and set up kicker Matt Prater for a 54-yard field goal.

Shortly before halftime, the Carolina offense was trying to put some points on the board. However, Newton threw a pass that was picked off by rookie Lions safety Tracy Walker and the half ended with Detroit up by three.

Score: Lions lead 10-7

Third Quarter

On the Panthers opening drive of the second half, the Lion secondary was burned by rookie receiver DJ Moore, who caught a pass for 82 yards to put Carolina in prime scoring position. However, the Lion defense did not allow another first down and kicker Graham Gano missed a 34-yard field goal attempt to keep the score the same.

Again, Johnson led the Lions into scoring position immediately after the missed kick, this time totaling 24 yards and setting up another Prater field goal for 32-yards.

Score: Lions lead 13-7

Fourth Quarter

Newton started the fourth quarter hot, leading a 10-play 92-yard drive. He threw a 13-yard touchdown to receiver Curtis Samuel, but Gano missed on the extra point, keeping the game all knotted up at 13.

Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford came alive in the fourth quarter and answered with a brilliant drive of his own. He converted a third and 15 with a 36-yard pass to receiver Kenny Golladay and then found Golladay in the end zone from 19 yards away, putting the Lions up by seven.

The Panthers responded though when Newton threw an 8-yard touchdown pass to Moore. However, instead of kicking the extra point the Panthers decided to try for the win and go for two. The Lion defense forced an inaccurate pass from Newton and walked off the field with a victory.

Score: Lions win 20-19

Key Stats

The Detroit Lions ran for 94 yards and a touchdown

The Lions run game looked good. They ran for 94 yards, but 87 of it came from  Johnson in just three-quarters of play. Johnson continues to look like the future face of the Lions offense.

Detroit held Carolina to just 56 rushing yards

Inversely, the Lion defense did a fantastic job of limiting Carolina’s rushing offense. Newton barely ran with the ball, and running back Christian McCaffery was held in check throughout the game. The trade for Damon Harrison looks better every week for Detroit.

Detroit won the turnover battle 1 to 0

This statistic is more about the Lions not turning the ball over rather than them taking it away. On the Lions three-game losing streak, they’ve had some very untimely turnovers. Without turning the ball over the defense and run game did enough to seal the Lions win.

Matthew Stafford led his first game-winning drive of the season

Stafford, known for his comeback wins, led his first game-winning drive of the season on Sunday. For the first time, all season Stafford seemed to regain his killer instinct in the fourth quarter and led a game-winning drive with some fantastic throws.

Stafford was sacked just once while the Lions defense sacked Cam Newton three times

Over the previous two games, Stafford had been sacked 16 times. On Sunday he did an excellent job of getting rid of the baller quicker. On the opposite end of the field, the Lions defense did an admirable job of getting pressure on Newton.

Plays Of The Game

Johnson’s touchdown

Walker’s interception

Stafford’s game-winning touchdown to Golladay

Detroit Lions Player Of The Game

Kerryon Johnson is the player of the week. In just under three quarters of playing time, the rookie back managed to rush for 87 rushing yards and a touchdown plus an additional 10 receiving yards. Unfortunately, he was injured in the third quarter and unable to return to the game.

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Johnson’s injury puts his future for the season in question. While not mathematically eliminated from postseason contention, the Lions are extremely unlikely to do anything of note this season. It may be wise to shut Johnson down for the 2018 season and save him for next year when the team should be better.

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