5 winners and losers from the Carolina Panthers defeat at Lions in Week 5

Not many covered themselves in glory...

Laviska Shenault Jr.
Laviska Shenault Jr. / Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports
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Loser No. 2

Miles Sanders - Carolina Panthers RB

There was so much optimism surrounding the signing of Miles Sanders in free agency. While there were a few eyebrows raised about the Carolina Panthers spending decent money on the running back position after trading Christian McCaffrey, he was coming off a Pro Bowl campaign and played a significant role in the Philadelphia Eagles reaching the Super Bowl as NFC champions.

That sort of winning mentality hasn't been seen in Carolina since the mid-2010s. Sanders is still dealing with a groin issue, but it was once again a subpar performance from a player who looks devoid of any confidence currently.

Just when the Panthers were starting to turn the tide, Sanders brought this to an abrupt halt with a critical first-half fumble. The Detroit Lions - smelling blood in the water behind offensive coordinator Ben Johnson's trickery - made them pay with a touchdown immediately to put the game out of sight.

Sanders rode the pine for the most part after that, with the Panthers seeing more of what Chuba Hubbard could bring as the lead-back. One could make a strong argument that he performed better, which means the coaching staff has a big decision to make regarding their marquee free-agent addition.

Benching Sanders heading into the bye week cannot be ruled out. But if he's given another chance at the Miami Dolphins, anything less than a major leap in production will come with grave consequences attached.