This piece was written by Clark Gerber, a contributing writer for WRAL SportsFan.
The Carolina Panthers have clearly struggled with their performance, resulting in a 0-5 record at the start of the season.
This past Sunday could have been their most disastrous.
Carolina was responsible for three turnovers and allowed 377 total yards in their defeat against the Detroit Lions, with a final score of 42-24.
Panthers head coach Frank Reich stated that their focus has been on challenging teams to defeat them. However, they have not been successful in executing this strategy in a game. As both coaches and players, they must take accountability for this.
The Panthers faced difficulties from the beginning. In the first carry of the game, Detroit’s David Montgomery ran 42 yards to score a touchdown, putting the Lions in the lead with a score of 7-0.
The Panthers’ defense has struggled with stopping the run this season. They are currently ranked 28th in the NFL, giving up an average of 4.7 yards per attempt. In their game on Sunday, they allowed 161 yards on 28 carries, averaging 5.8 yards per carry (not including two late kneel downs).
Carolina’s next drive saw the downward trend continue, with the issue of turnovers becoming more prominent.
The Carolina Panthers attempted a tight end screen play on 2nd & 7, but the Detroit Lions defense was able to detect it immediately. Instead of getting rid of the ball, Bryce Young attempted to pass it to Ian Thomas and ended up getting intercepted by defensive end Aidan Hutchinson.
The giveaway presented Detroit with an immediate opportunity to score in the red zone, and Jared Goff capitalized on this just five plays later by connecting with rookie tight end Sam LaPorta for a 4-yard touchdown.
Young expressed that it was challenging to put their defense in a difficult position. He acknowledged that the opposing team was strong, particularly on offense, and did not require any assistance. He took responsibility for his mistakes and recognized the need for improvement in order to prevent similar situations from occurring in the future.
During the second quarter, the Panthers’ next turnover was caused by running back Miles Sanders.
Sanders lost possession of the ball during a first down play and Detroit was able to recover it, marking his second fumble of the season.
The Lions then proceeded to methodically move the ball down the field, completing 10 plays for 38 yards and successfully converting a crucial 4th down. The drive was ultimately capped off by a 1-yard touchdown catch by Josh Reynolds in the back of the end zone.
Carolina committed another crucial error on their following play.
Young attempted to throw to Jonathan Mingo on a corner route, but did not notice Jerry Jacobs intercepting the pass by cutting underneath the intended path.
Once again, the Lions capitalized on the situation.
Goff called for a trick play on the following play after the turnover, connecting with LaPorta once again for a 31-yard touchdown. This increased their lead to 21 points and the Lions easily maintained it for the rest of the game.
The Carolina team did not have a successful game on Sunday, but their player Young managed to throw three touchdown passes and achieve a personal best of 247 passing yards.
Tommy Tremble’s first touchdown catch of the season helped the Panthers score in the second quarter.
The third-year tight end successfully caught a 1-yard pass, completing a 14-play, 75-yard scoring drive that temporarily brought Carolina back into the game.
Young threw his second and third touchdown passes in the fourth quarter when the game was already decided, but they were still noteworthy moments.
With approximately 12 minutes remaining, the novice quarterback threw a 18-yard pass to DJ Chark for a touchdown, marking his second receiving touchdown of the season.
In the final minutes of the game, Young threw a pass to his go-to receiver Adam Thielen, resulting in a 2-yard touchdown. Thielen had a stellar performance, making 11 catches for 107 yards and scoring a touchdown.
The Panthers have yet to secure a victory and currently hold the record of 0-5, making them the only team in the NFL without a win.
The upcoming game against the high-scoring Miami Dolphins in Week 6 will be the team’s final opportunity to secure a victory before their bye week.
Reich stated that nobody could have predicted this outcome. He believes that it perfectly exemplifies the phrase “Keep Pounding,” showcasing a strong mindset that pushes through challenges and strives to have the best week possible regardless of the circumstances. He also believes that this approach will have a positive impact.
During the first quarter, Zavala suffered an injury.
Chandler Zavala, a rookie guard for the Carolina Panthers, had to be transported off the field due to a neck injury on Sunday afternoon during their game in Detroit.
Zavala was performing a standard block when he suddenly fell and remained on the ground for a few minutes.
The medical team moved Zavala onto a stretcher and then placed him on a cart. As he was taken off the field, Zavala gave a thumbs up to the onlooking crowd.
The team reports that he was transported to a nearby hospital for further assessment.
At 9:41 in the first quarter, David Montgomery ran for 42 yards resulting in a touchdown. Riley Patterson successfully made the extra point, giving the Lions a score of 7-0.
At 4:53 in the first quarter, Sam LaPorta caught a 4-yard pass from Jared Goff, and Riley Patterson successfully made the extra point, bringing the Lions’ score to 14-0.
At 12:48 in the second quarter, Bryce Young threw a 1-yard pass to Tommy Tremble, which was followed by a successful extra point kick by Eddy Pineiro. This put the Lions ahead 14-7.
At 3:50 in the second quarter, Jared Goff threw a pass to Josh Reynolds for a gain of 1 yard. Riley Patterson successfully kicked the extra point, bringing the score to 21-7 in favor of the Lions.
At 3 minutes and 21 seconds into the second quarter, Jared Goff threw a 31-yard pass to Sam LaPorta, resulting in a touchdown for the Lions. Riley Patterson successfully kicked the extra point, bringing the score to 28-7 in favor of the Lions.
At the 6th second of the 2nd quarter, Eddy Pineiro successfully kicked a 33-yard field goal, bringing the score to 28-10 in favor of the Lions.
At 2:45 PM on the 4th quarter, Jared Goff made a 1-yard rush and Riley Patterson successfully kicked the extra point. The score is now 35-10 with the Lions in the lead.
At 11:52 on the 4th quarter, DJ Chark Jr. caught a pass from Bryce Young for a gain of 18 yards. Eddy Pineiro successfully kicked the extra point, bringing the score to 35-17 in favor of the Lions.
At 7:27 in the 4th quarter, Craig Reynolds rushed for 5 yards, followed by a successful extra point kick by Riley Patterson. The Lions now lead 42-17.
At 1:55 in the 4th quarter, Bryce Young threw a pass to Adam Thielen for a gain of 1 yard. Eddy Pineiro successfully made the extra point, bringing the score to 42-24 in favor of the Lions.