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Panthers at Lions Final Score: Cam Newton puts the team on his back, lights up Lions 27-24

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The Carolina Panthers are 4-1 as their offense continues to chug along.

NFL: Carolina Panthers at Detroit Lions Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

Takeaways

  • Ed Dickson SHOWED UP for this game. 5 receptions for 175 yards is a big stat line for Greg Olsen, much less his back up.
  • Christian McCaffery scored his first career TD off a shovel pass by Cam Newton. CMC was mostly a non factor all day but the rest of the offense prospered. Both Funchess and Benjamin scored on touchdown passes.
  • Cam Newton looks like 2015 Cam, making passes nobody else can make and showing that classic swagger.
  • Props to Mike Shula. He has busted out great play calls the last two weeks.
  • The secondary struggled at first (specifically Daryl Worley), but they shored up the penalties and made great pass breakups as the game went on.
  • 6 sack performance by the defense, lead by Mario Addison and Julius Peppers again adding to their sack totals. The defense as a whole has given up points, but the pass rush has been consistent.

Recap

In the first quarter, the Lions opened up with a long drive where the Panthers committed three penalties, more than the last two games COMBINED. The defense held up after yet another missed interception, this one by Shaq Thompson, caused an incompletion and a field goal by Matt Prater. The Panthers answered with a penalty filled drive that stalled near midfield and resulted in a punt. The defense got lucky with a three and out ending ob a Marvin Jones drop. The offense got down to the redzone on a beautiful 64 yard catch and run, only for the offense to stall for a field goal of it’s own.

In the second quarter, the Lions scored on the goal line after several penalties by the Panthers defense awarded them extra yards, capped off by a 1 yard TD run by Zach Zenner. The Panthers answered with yet another long catch and run by Ed Dickson, capped off with a shovel pass to Christian McCaffery for his first career TD. The teams traded punts until Carolina created another scoring drive, ending with a beautiful catch by Devin Funchess in the endzone with less than a minute left in the half. The Lions final drive ended with Shaq Thompson TATOOING Theo Riddick on 3rd and long.

The third quarter belonged to the Panthers as they continued to extend their lead. Kelvin Benjamin caught a 31 yard touchdown pass from Cam on the team’s first drive, and then they added another field goal off a Matthew Stafford sack and fumble by Kawann Short. The Lions ended the half with a turnover on downs.

The Panthers missed a 50+ yard field goal to start the 4th quarter. But the defense held up, with sacks by Shaq Thompson and Captain Munnerlyn to force a three and out. The teams again traded punts, but Matthew Stafford lead a touchdown drive that ended with a touchdown to Darren Fells. The Panthers’ attempt to kill the clock stalled, and the Lions capitalized with another touchdown pass to Darren Fells. The Panthers had a 27-24 lead with less than 3 and a half minutes to go. The Panthers offense appeared poised to punt with more than two minutes left, but Cam once again delivered with a strike to Kelvin Benjamin to take the game to the two minute warning, with no timeouts for Detroit.

Not much to say here. This team, despite its flaws, has went on the road and beaten two top tier QBs off the arm of Cam Newton. Cam of 2015 has returned. The NFL is on notice.