Lions vs. Panthers: Detroit ends three-game losing skid
Kerryon lost a yard on the first play of the second quarter and Theo Riddick lost three more as he tried to make something out of a screen pass but the drive fell short as Detroit was unable to move the chains. Still though, a phenomenal 55-yard punt by Sam Martin pinned Carolina back on their own 2-yard line as Detroit expertly flipped the field on the Panthers.
Christian McCaffrey was stopped on his first carry from the shadow of his own end zone after only gaining two yards and Cam Newton next completed a 10-yard pass to get the first down as he earned his offense more room to operate. On an eventual 3rd & 2 play, Newton went for Funchess again as he was covered by Darius Slay but after being beaten initially, “Big Play” Slay recovered nicely as he helped to break up the pass attempt. Detroit’s defense again held up strong as they forced the Panthers into another punt.
The Lions went back to work on offense but a three-and-out meant that Detroit quickly had to punt the ball back to Carolina.
On a run-pass option, Cam tried for Funchess for the third time in the game but it resulted in a third drop for the young receiver. The Panthers pushed the ball down the field a bit more but on 3rd & 7, Ziggy Ansah came through with his third sack of the season as Newton absorbed his second sack of the game.
Stafford took back over from his own 16-yard line as he gave it to the young runner Kerryon and “KJ” rumbled it down for 14-yards on the carry. As the pocket collapsed around Detroit’s QB, he delivered a sudden Favre-esque pass to Kerryon as he gained 5-yards on a play that initially looked to result in a Stafford sack and that play led right into the two-minute warning.
On the next snap, Kerryon promptly gained the first down for his team. Lion tight end Levine Toilolo made a 13-yard grab as the Lions tried to move the ball into a scoring position.
On 3rd & 10, a miscommunication between Stafford and Golladay resulted in a thrown away pass. The missed pass set up a 54-yard field goal attempt by Matt Prater and the kicker delivered as he knocked it right through the uprights, 10-0 Detroit. The kick gave the Lions their first lead in a game in nearly a month of action.
Cam Newton went deep but rookie corner Tracy Walker III came down with his first NFL interception as the play allowed Detroit to have another scoring opportunity with seconds left in the game.
Stafford zipped a pass in to Ellington but a perfectly timed hit by Carolina safety Eric Reid shook up Detroit’s receiver significantly during the play. Martin came in for the safe play and punted it away and with the boot of the ball, the first half came to an end.
Detroit held up well in all three phases of the game during the first half and they even managed to go into the break with the lead which the Lions hadn’t managed since their Week 7 road win in Miami.
The Lions were set to receive the second half kickoff.