The Detroit Lions secured their third consecutive victory with an impressive 42-24 win against the Carolina Panthers on Sunday, marking a significant milestone in their season.
In this triumph, all facets of the game played a crucial role in Detroit’s success, elevating their record to 4-1 for the season. The Lions’ defense was particularly impressive, forcing three turnovers, which the offense capitalized on with 21 points and a total of six touchdowns. Special teams also performed flawlessly.
Quarterback Jared Goff led the offensive charge, throwing three touchdown passes, two of which found rookie tight end Sam LaPorta. This achievement marked only the fifth instance in franchise history where a rookie tight end recorded a multi-touchdown game. Goff himself added a 1-yard rushing touchdown in the fourth quarter.
Running back David Montgomery made a significant contribution with a 42-yard touchdown run, while wide receiver Josh Reynolds secured a 1-yard touchdown reception. Running back Craig Reynolds sealed the deal with a 5-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter. Montgomery’s 109 rushing yards and a touchdown made him the first Lion since Kevin Jones in 2004 to achieve consecutive games with 100-plus rushing yards and a touchdown. Remarkably, the Lions’ nine rushing touchdowns in their first five games tied a franchise record set back in 1970.
By the end of the game, Detroit’s offense had amassed 377 yards, marking the first time since 1954 that a Lions team had achieved at least 350 yards of total offense in each of their first five games.
Defensively, the Lions continued their strong start to the season by limiting Carolina to under 100 rushing yards and forcing three pivotal turnovers, all of which occurred in Carolina’s territory. Key defensive plays included Aidan Hutchinson’s fourth career interception, Will Harris recovering a fumble forced by Alim McNeill, and Jerry Jacobs recording his third interception of the season, his third in the last two games, all at crucial junctures on the field. Importantly, the Lions’ offense converted all three turnovers into touchdowns.
Carolina’s scoring came through tight end Tommy Tremble (1-yard), wide receiver DJ Chark (18 yards), and wide receiver Adam Thielen (1 yard).
In the quarterback comparison, Jared Goff had an outstanding performance, completing 20 of 28 passes for 236 yards, three touchdowns, one rushing touchdown, no interceptions, and a passer rating of 132.4. Notably, Goff has thrown at least two touchdown passes in 14 of his last 16 games at Ford Field.
On the opposing side, Carolina’s quarterback, Bryce Young, the No. 1 overall pick in this year’s NFL Draft, went 25-of-41 passing with three touchdowns and two interceptions, resulting in an 82.1 passer rating.
A defining moment of the game occurred in the second quarter when a three-play sequence completely shifted the momentum in Detroit’s favor. With the Lions leading 14-7, Goff’s 1-yard touchdown pass to Josh Reynolds extended their lead to 21-7. The very next play saw Young throwing an interception to Jacobs, positioning the Lions at the Carolina 31-yard line. On the following play, a reverse flea flicker led to a wide-open LaPorta touchdown. Within just three plays, the Lions’ lead surged from 14-7 to 28-7.
A critical statistic in the game was the turnover battle, which Detroit dominated with a 3-0 advantage. The Lions’ defense excelled in creating takeaways, and the offense efficiently converted these turnovers into touchdowns, thanks to short fields.
In terms of injuries, veteran cornerback Emmanuel Moseley, making his first appearance of the season, left the game in the first half due to a knee injury and did not return. Lions reserve running back Zonovan Knight also left the game with a left shoulder injury after making an 8-yard reception in the third quarter and did not return.