In a game that saw both highs and lows, the Detroit Lions secured a preseason victory against the Carolina Panthers with a 26-17 finish. While the game started slow for the Lions, big plays and a strong defensive finish ensured a strong showing. Here’s how it all unfolded.
1st Quarter: Struggles Offset by Special Teams
The Lions opened the game on a lackluster note. Quarterback Teddy Bridgewater went 5/6 for 45 yards, spreading the ball around, but failed to ignite the offense. Craig Reynolds added only 5 yards on the ground. The defense struggled too, notably failing to contain Panthers QB Bryce Young. The bright spot came from the special teams; Khalil Dorsey and Antoine Green ignited the game with 62 and 32-yard kick returns, respectively.
2nd Quarter: Lions Roar Back
The second quarter saw a resurgent Lions team. Craig Reynolds punched in a 5-yard touchdown, while kicker Riley Patterson added two field goals. But the highlight came when CB Chase Lucas made a crucial endzone interception, laying out vertically to snag the ball from the Panthers wide receiver. Following that, Teddy Bridgewater connected with Antoine Green for a 70-yard touchdown. Khalil Dorsey forced a fumble, recovered by Brady Breeze, setting the Lions ahead 20-10 going into halftime.
3rd Quarter: QB Worries and Defense Stands
The third quarter started on a somber note as backup QB Nate Sudfeld was carted off with an injury. Adrian Martinez, a rookie UDFA, took over and performed admirably, throwing for 33 yards and adding 11 yards on the ground. The defense, led by CBs Chase Lucas and Steven Gilmore, kept the Panthers at bay despite giving up a 2-yard touchdown to Camerun Peoples and a 27-yard scramble by Matt Corral.
4th Quarter: Defensive Dominance
The final quarter saw the Lions defense close the show. Linebacker James Houston and defensive tackle Cory Durden stepped up with key sacks, setting the stage for cornerback Steven Gilmore to seal the game with a pick-six. Detroit closed out the game with a 26-17 win.
Conclusion: Emerging Talent and Resilience
Antoine Green and Steven Gilmore emerged as the offensive and defensive MVPs, showcasing the depth and talent on the Lions roster. With the regular season looming, this win injects optimism into Lions fans eager for a NFC North crown.
- Teddy Bridgewater: 13/22 pass attempts, 178 yards
- Antoine Green: 3 receptions, 97 yards, 1 TD
- Dylan Drummond: 5 receptions, 46 yards
- Craig Reynolds: 11 rush attempts, 41 yards
- Steven Gilmore: 5 total tackles, 1 interception, 4 passes deflected
- Khalil Dorsey: 5 total tackles, 1 forced fumble, 62 kick return yards
- Chase Lucas: 3 total tackles, 1 interception, 3 passes deflected
- Cory Durden: 5 total tackles, 1 sack
- Tracy Walker: 4 total tackles
The Lions showed both resilience and emerging talent in their preseason win, giving fans much to look forward to in the upcoming season.
For more from our Detroit Lions beat writer, Matt Broder, check him out on Twitter here: @mattbro21
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Original Photo Credit: © Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports