Detroit Lions vs. Carolina Panthers: 3 Things We Learned (and Didn’t)

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 The Kicking Game is Suspect (at best)

It didn’t appear faith was exceptionally high in Nate Freese to begin with. Now that he’s 40% on field goals through two games, it might be time for the panic button. Options are limited, with most pointing to veteran Jay Feely. It’s hard to say if the Lions make a move so soon, but Freese doesn’t get the benefit of the doubt when he’s missing more FGs than he makes as a rookie. Freese hasn’t hit a field goal of more than 30 yards this season. Expect the Lions to work out a couple of kickers at the very least this week.

The Defense can Play

Sep 14, 2014; Charlotte, NC, USA; Carolina Panthers running back Jonathan Stewart (28) runs the ball before being tackled by Detroit Lions middle linebacker Stephen Tulloch (55) during the first quarter at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

The area of the team that appeared to be the biggest concern coming into the season is perhaps the most consistent through the first two games. The big issue now is going to be fighting back the tide of injuries. Darius Slay was in the midst of a breakout performance when he went down with an injury. The Lions also lost slot corner Nevin Lawson, and the game seemed to suddenly get easier for Cam Newton after those injuries. Still, the Lions held the Panthers to 13 points through the first three quarters, and only let up 11 in the final frame when they were put on the field in bad situations. It was, in all, an above-average, though not dominant, performance for the defense. The offense was the let-down today.

Jeremy Ross Needs to Touch the Football

Sep 14, 2014; Charlotte, NC, USA; Detroit Lions wide receiver Jeremy Ross (12) gets tackled by Carolina Panthers cornerback Antoine Cason (20) during the first quarter at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

Every time Jeremy Ross touched the football, something good happened. Ross never broke a long touchdown return, and he never really changed the game single-handedly. But on his only reception, he side-stepped a defender for a touch 3rd-down conversion, and on every kick or punt he got to return, he picked up a few more yards than it looked like he would. Ross helped the Lions win the battle of field position more often than not, and it’s not his fault the Lions couldn’t do anything with it. It may not be long before teams start kicking away from him. Now, this was the second game of the NFL season. So as much as we may have learned from this game, there’s a bunch we still don’t know. For example: