Panthers fail to cash in on opportunities, lose to Lions 20-19
It was not a good day to be a Panthers fan.
This was a game that the Carolina Panthers could and should have won. After a disappointing loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers in primetime last week, the Panthers needed to bounce back against the Detroit Lions this week. To put it simply, it just did not happen.
Things started off great for the Carolina Panthers. In the first quarter, Cam Newton connected with Greg Olsen for a one-yard touchdown to put the Panthers ahead 7-0 following a Graham Gano extra point. That ended a 10-play, 90-yard drive. The Lions would strike back however. An eight-yard run from Kerryon Johnson concluded a 12-play, 72-yard to drive to tie the score at seven apiece. The rest of the quarter would be a defensive battle and no more scoring would occur during the quarter.
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The second quarter was not exactly a shootout either. The only scoring of the frame would be a 54-yard field goal from the leg of Matt Prater. That put the Lions ahead by a 10-7 margin heading into the locker rooms for halftime. The third quarter would be more of the same. It was a defensive battle, and the only scoring would be a field goal from Prater yet again. From 32 yards out, this gave Detroit a 13-7 lead, leaving the Panthers with some work to do heading into the fourth quarter.
They would begin to chip away at the lead. First, it was Curtis Samuel doing the honors at the 9:23 mark of the fourth quarter. A 10-yard pass from Newton inched the Panthers closer. Perhaps the biggest play of this drive was a failed extra point on the part of Gano. That kept the game tied the game at 13. Detroit would answer as Stafford threw a beautiful ball to wideout Kenny Golladay for a touchdown. What happened next would literally decide the game. Newton found D.J. Moore at the 1:07 mark of the fourth quarter for an eight-yard touchdown pass. That completed a six-play 75-yard drive leaving the Panthers to either kick the extra point or go for two.
They decided to do the latter. With the pocket collapsing, Newton threw the ball a bit high over the head of Jarius Wright for an incomplete pass, giving Detroit a 20-19 win. It was a throw he could have made. He definitely should have completed the pass. However, the missed field goal by Gano did not help things either. This was a team loss, plain and simple.
Newton went 25-37 on the afternoon, throwing for 357 yards, three touchdowns, and an interception. Christian McCaffrey led the rushing attack with 13 carries for 53 yards. A 10-yard scamper was his longest of the day. Moore had a tremendous day. He caught seven passes for 157 yards and a touchdown. An 82-yard catch was his longest of the afternoon. There were definitely good things to take away from this game. There were also some very frustrating things. This was a game that Carolina should have won, and especially coming off of a tough loss the week before, they needed to win this. Instead, they find themselves in a bit of a rut as the New Orleans Saints do not look to be slowing down anytime soon.
The Panthers will play their next game against the Seahawks next Sunday. Kickoff is slated for 1:00 p.m. That will be no guaranteed victory either. The Panthers need to come out firing on all cylinders in hopes of keeping up with the National Football League’s elite.