Detroit Lions Week 16 report card: Lions fall flat on their face in Carolina
By Zach Payne
Run defense: 0/5 stars
320 rushing yards for the Panthers. There’s not much more to say than that, and it’s truly astonishing. In the Panthers’ first drive of the day alone, they racked up more rushing yards than the Lions had allowed in the previous two games combined.
The physical brand of football that the Panthers played absolutely destroyed the Lions’ front. It was ugly from the first snap, and it never got better.
Pass defense: 0/5 stars
Carolina had little need for the passing game. When they did go to it though, it was highly effective. Sam Darnold threw the ball for 250 yards on just 15 completions. Including a few nice deep throws to his receivers as the Lions’ secondary struggled once more.
It was just one of those days where absolutely nothing was going right. Detroit had zero answers for anything the Panthers did.
Best defensive player: No one
Worst defensive player(s): Everyone
Much like how in recent weeks the defense has been in sync to stop opposing offenses, they were in sync to have a truly awful day. The defensive tackles were being moved far too easily, the edge defenders were very undisciplined and failed to set the edge against the run, the linebackers couldn’t properly read and attack gaps, and the defensive backs had a woeful time tackling.
Nobody on the defensive side for the Lions played well, and everyone stood out in a negative way. As seen earlier in the season, defenders were trying to overcompensate which only made things worse. The Panthers played bully ball up front and it worked wonders against a Lions’ defense that clearly didn’t come ready to play.