The Detroit Lions were big favorites over the Carolina Panthers all week heading into Sunday's game, with little or no adjustment with the news they'd be without Amon-Ra St. Brown, Brian Branch and Jahmyr Gibbs. That may have said it all, but the Lions still had to take care of business against a winless team.
After the Panthers took the ball to start the game, the Lions went 81 yards on three plays, capped by David Montgomery's 42-yard touchdown run. An interception by Aidan Hutchinson set up a short field, capped by short touchdown pass to tight end Sam LaPorta. 14-0, with less than four minutes of offensive possession time.
The Panthers narrowed it to14-7. But two takeaways by the Lions' defense yielded two more touchdowns, including offensive coordinator Ben Johnson going "YOLO" with a trick play for LaPorta's second touchdown of the day,
The Panthers drove for a field goal before halftime, but the outcome was never in doubt from there. If it even was at all.
Detroit Lions simply take care of business against overmatched Panthers
The Lions would stretch it to 35-10 with a drive capped by a 1-yard sneak by Jared Goff (his fourth touchdown of the day, after three touchdown passes).
Carolina scored two touchdowns in the fourth quarter, with the Lions scoring on a touchdown run by Craig Reynolds in between. But it was the definition of garbage time; the Panthers are just not equipped to make a comeback. Rookie quarterback Bryce Young is overmatched right now, and everyone knows it. FOX sideline reporter Pam Oliver said Panthers' head coach Frank Reich would not even talk about Young's level of play coming out of halftime. Lest he be too honest about Young or the team as a whole, I suppose.
This was a "take care of business against an inferior team" game for the Lions, no matter who wasn't available for them. They got it done, with an imperfect but effective performance in a decisive win that was not fully reflected by the 42-24 score.