Week 5 Recap: Panthers Can’t Dethrone Kings of the Jungle

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By Rockin’ Reese

Detroit Lions 42 – Carolina Panthers 24

Thanks to the Chicago Bears winning on Thursday, the Carolina Panthers would become the last team competing for their 1st win in the 2023-24 NFL season. They were hoping to do it in Detroit, Michigan at Ford Field. However, the Detroit Lions weren’t in the mood to oblige.

In the first quarter, the Panthers started the opening possession with (quarterback) Bryce Young completing an 8-yard pass to (wide receiver) Jonathan Mingo. They earned a 1st down, thanks to a 6-yard run from (running back) Miles Sanders. After (wide receiver) Laviska Shenault loss 2 yards on a run & Young threw away a ball, the Panthers were faced with a 3rd & 12. Young completed an 18-yard pass to (wide receiver) DJ Chark, which put the Panthers in Lions territory. Runs from Young & Sanders got the Panthers to Detroit’s 39-yard line, but an incomplete pass  on 3rd & 4, led to the Panthers punting.

The Lions started their opening possession with (quarterback) Jared Goff completing consecutive passes to (wide receivers) Kalif Raymond (for 23 yards) & Marvin Jones (for 16 yards). On the first running play for the Lions, (running back) David Montgomery ran 42 yards for a touchdown, then (kicker) Riley Patterson made the extra point. The Panthers started their next possession with an incomplete pass from Young, a 2-yard run from Sanders, & Young completing a 9-yard pass to (wide receiver) Adam Thielen. After a 3-yard run from (running back) Chuba Hubbard, Young threw an interception to (Lions defensive lineman) Aidan Hutchinson.

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DETROIT, MICHIGAN – OCTOBER 08: DJ Chark Jr. #17 of the Carolina Panthers catches a pass against Cameron Sutton #1 of the Detroit Lions for a touchdown during the second half at Ford Field on October 08, 2023 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Nic Antaya/Getty Images)

Starting in the red zone, Montgomery ran the ball twice to set up a 1st & goal at Carolina’s 10-yard line. Goff completed a 2-yard pass to (tight end) Brock Wright, then Montgomery ran for 4 yards. Goff threw a 4-yard touchdown pass to (tight end) Sam LaPorta, then Patterson made his 2nd extra point of the day.

The Panthers needed points on this next possession & played like they wanted them. After a 1-yard run from Hubbard, Young completed 3 straight passes to Thielen, then Sanders ran for 9 yards. Young completed a 13-yard pass to Mingo, then Sanders ran for 4 yards. A 5-yard pass to (tight end) Hayden Hurst was negated by an illegal formation penalty. Young completed a 5-yard pass to (tight end) Tommy Tremble, but the Panthers earned a 1st down, thanks to (Lions linebacker) Jack Campbell being called for illegal contact. After throwing a pass away, Young completed a 9-yard pass to Thielen on the final play of the quarter.

In the second quarter, the Panthers had a 3rd & 1 from Detroit’s 20-yard line. They got the yard, thanks to (quarterback) Andy Dalton running a sneak. Shenault would run for 11 yards to set up 1st & goal at the 8-yard line. Young would throw an incomplete pass, then Shenault would run for 7 yards to set up 3rd & goal from the 1-yard line. Young would throw a touchdown pass to Tremble, then (kicker) Eddy Piñeiro would make the extra point.

On the next Lions possession, Goff completed a 5-yard pass to Wright, then Montgomery ran for 6 yards. Goff threw his first incomplete pass, then earned a free play when (Panthers defensive lineman) Derrick Brown went offside. Goff decided to let it fly & completed a 27-yard pass to (wide receiver) Josh Reynolds. After an incomplete pass, Goff completed a 6-yard pass to Jones to get to Carolina’s 37-yard line.

However, they could’t get 4 more yards, as Goff threw 2 incomplete passes, causing a turnover on downs. On the very next play, Sanders was hit on a run by (defensive lineman) Alim McNeill & fumbled the ball, which was recovered by (Lions cornerback) Will Harris. Goff completed a 9-yard pass to Montgomery, but lost 2 yards on a pass to (wide receiver) Jameson Williams.

Montgomery rant the ball 4 straight times, before Goff completed an 11-yard pass to Montgomery to get in the red zone. Goff completed a 10-yard pass to Raymond, setting up 1st & goal at Carolina’s 1-yard line. After Montgomery ran for no gain, Goff completed a touchdown pass to Reynolds, then Patterson made his 3rd extra point of the day. After Shenault had a decent kick return, Young would throw his 2nd interception, this time to (cornerback) Jerry Jacobs.

Not wasting any time, Goff threw a 31-yard touchdown pass to LaPorta, then Patterson made his 4th extra point of the game. Shenault had another strong kickoff return, but the Panthers couldn’t afford another scoreless drive before the first half ended. Young completed a 9-yard pass to Hurst, then Hubbard ran for 5 yards.

Young completed a 30-yard pass to Thielen, as the game hit the 2-minute warning. After Young completed a 4-yard pass to Hurst, Shenault ran for no gain to set up a 3rd & 6. Young threw an incomplete pass, but Jacobs was called for holding. At Detroit’s 15-yard line with less than 30 seconds to go, Young failed to complete 3 passes, which meant the Panthers settled for a 33-yard field goal from Piñeiro. Goff took a knee, to send the game into halftime, with the Lions leading 28-10.

In the third quarter, Goff threw an incomplete pass to start the second half. After a 2-yard run from Montgomery, Goff threw a 12-yard pass to LaPorta, then a 9-yard pass to Wright. After a 6-yard run from Montgomery to get into Panthers territory, Goff threw an incomplete pass. Montgomery ran for 8 yards to set up a 3rd & 2, but he only got 1 yard on the next run.

It looked like the Lions were going to punt for the first time, but (Panthers defensive lineman) Nick Thurman committed a neutral zone infraction. Montgomery ran for 4 yards, but the drive would stall at Carolina’s 28-yard line. After Montgomery ran for no game, (Panthers linebacker) Brian Burns had the game’s first sack, as he took Goff down for a 10-yard loss. The Lions were finally forced to punt. Young completed a 12-yard pass to Thielen, then Shenault ran for 11 yards for 2 quick 1st downs. Unfortunately, they would get no further than their 33-yard line.

A 6-yard run by Shenault was negated by a holding call against (center) Bradley Bozeman. Young would complete an 8-yard pass to Hurst, then thrown an incomplete pass, & get sacked by Hutchinson, causing a punt. Goff would throw 2 incomplete passes, before completing a 4-yard pass to Williams. After another Lions punt, the Panthers would get penalized twice.

First, Hurst woiuld be called for a false start, then Young would commit intentional grounding. After completing a 6-yard pass to Mingo, he would throw an incomplete pass to cause the 4th punt of the quarter. With the Lions starting at their 49-yard line, Goff started this drive with completing consecutive passes to Reynolds (for 21 yards) & (running back) Zonovan Knight (for 8 yards).

After Montgeomery ran for 4 yards to earn a 1st down & get in the red zone, Goff was sacked by (Panthers cornerback) CJ Henderson for an 8-yard loss. He threw a 12-yard pass to Raymond, then Montgomery ran for 10 yards to set up 1st & goal from Carolina’s 4-yard line. Montgomery ran for 3 yards to end the quarter.

In the fourth quarter, Goff ran a quarterback sneak for a touchdown, then Patterson made his 5th extra point of the game. Down by 25, the Panthers needed a second half comeback of the ages. Hubbard started the drive with a 5-yard run, then Young completed an 11-yard pass to Mingo. Hubbard ran for 4 yards, then Young completed a 6-yard pass to Chark. Hubbard ran for 6 yards, getting into Lions territory. After completing a 10-yard pass to Mingo, Young failed to complete a pass to Sanders. However, (defensive lineman) Charles Harris was called for roughing the passer, which set up the Panthers in the red zone.

Young completed an 18-yard touchdown pass to Chark, then Piñeiro made his 2nd extra point of the game. On the next Lions possession, (running back) Craig Reynolds ran for no gain, then Goff completed a 27-yard pass to J. Reynolds, which put them in Panthers territory. The remainder of the drive belonged to C. Reynolds, who ran for 17 yards, 7 yards, & 19 yards to set the Lions up with a 1st & goal at Carolina’s 5-yard line. After running for no gain, C. Reynolds had a 5-yard touchdown run, then Patterson made his 6th extra point. Sanders ran for 8 yards, then Hubbard ran for 3 to get a 1st down. Young completed a 28-yard pass to (tight end) Ian Thomas to put them in Lions territory.

Hubbard rand for 3 yards, then Young completed an 8-yard pass to Thielen for a 1st down. After a pass to Hubbard went for no gain, Young completed an 11-yard pass to Thielen to get in the red zone. After an incomplete pass from Young, Hubbard ran for 5 yards. On 3rd down, Young threw an incomplete pass, but for the 2nd time in the quarter, the Lions were called for roughing the passer, this time it was on (linebacker) Alex Anzalone. It looked like this drive would stall on Detroit’s 4-yard line, after Young threw 2 incomplete passes, then the Panthers were called for a delay of game.

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However, Young completed 2 consecutive passes to Thielen, the 2nd being a touchdown on a 4th & goal from the 1. After Piñeiro made his 3rd extra point, he tried for an onside kick, but LaPorta retrieved the ball. C. Reynolds ran for 4 yards, then (quarterback) Teddy Bridgewater took a couple of knees to end the game. The Lions showed why they are kings of the jungle with a 42-24 victory.

For the Panthers, Young completed 25 out of 41 passes for 247 yards with 3 touchdowns & 2 interceptions. Hubbard 9 carries for 35 yards & Sanders had 7 carries for 32 yards. Thielen had 11 catches for 107 yards & a touchdown. Burns & Henderson both had sacks. This is the 4th time that the Panthers have started 0-5 in a season (1995, 1998, & 2010 were the other occasions). Next up, the Panthers head to South Beach to play the Miami Dolphins (who defeated the New York Giants, 31-16, on Sunday). The Panthers are hoping to avoid an 0-6 start before they enter their bye week.

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