Detroit Lions at Carolina Panthers, NFL preseason

The Detroit Lions capped off the preseason with a 26-17 road win against the Carolina Panthers in a matchup that featured solid performances from depth pieces and roster hopefuls on both sides of the ball.

Detroit’s presumptive backup quarterback Teddy Bridgewater made up for his lukewarm showing against the Jacksonville Jaguars a week ago. He finished with 178 yards and a touchdown, running the offense for the entirety of the first half.

Wide receiver Antoine Green notched 97 yards and a touchdown with three completions, making a strong case for his value with roster cuts around the corner. Dylan Drummond and Chase Cota had their moments as well, each finishing with over 40 yards.

Cornerback Steven Gilmore’s game-sealing interception in the waning minutes of the fourth quarter was certainly the flashiest defensive play of the evening, though cornerback Chase Lucas’ leaping interception in the endzone late in the second quarter also stuck out.

Carolina’s endzone fumble seals 26-17 victory for Detroit

Drive starts: CAR 25 (3:01 4th)

It looks as though Luton is intent on atoning for his pick-six on the previous drive. He follows up a 18-yard completion on an early third down with a 15-yard completion, quickly putting Carolina in Detroit territory.

Luton notches a pair of completions good for a combined 18-yards after an incompletion, bringing the Panthers ever-closer to the endzone.

However, the drive ends in strange fashion. Luton seemingly drops a beautiful pass into the basket for Camerun Peoples just inside the pylon on the left side of the endzone. After further review, the officials rule that Peoples lost possession in the endzone. The play is ruled a touchback.

Drive starts: DET 20 (1:46 4th)

The Lions drain the clock with a 5-yard rush and couple of kneels, completing a 27-16 road victory in their final game of the preseason.

Gilmore pick-six puts Detroit ahead 26-17 in waning minutes of fourth quarter

Drive starts: CAR 15 (4:00 4th)

Things go from bad to worse for a Carolina offense that hasn’t done much since the third quarter. After an 11-yard sack and an incompletion, quarterback Jake Luton tries to force a pass to wide receiver Gary Jennings Jr. on third-and-21. Cornerback Steven Gilmore makes him pay, picking off the pass at the Carolina 11-yard line and racing to the endzone for a pick-six.

Lions 26, Panthers 17 (3:01 4th)

Panthers, Lions trading punts in fourth quarter

Drive starts: DET 25 (4:00 3rd)

Martinez makes a couple of solid plays on the first set of downs, notching a 7-yard pass and a 5-yard scramble for the first down. After an 8-yard run from running back Benny Snell, the undrafted free agent quarterback finds Cota in Carolina territory for a 16-yard completion.

Snell notches a 3-yard gain on the following first down, though the gain is negated after Martinez fumbles, recovers and runs out of bounds to lose 4-yards. He can’t quite connect with wide receiver Maurice Alexander on the next play, tossing an inaccurate pass on a crossing route and bringing the drive to an end.

Drive starts: CAR 20 (14:46 4th)

The Panthers’ offense wastes almost no time in handing the keys back to the Lions. A 3-yard gain sandwiched by two incompletions results in a quick three-and-out and Carolina punts it away.

Drive starts: DET 45 (13:44 4th)

Detroit gains just 6-yards on its first drive of the fourth quarter, courtesy of a Martinez completion to wide receiver Trinity Benson.

Drive starts: CAR 8 (12:02 4th)

Carolina finds some success on the ground on the first few plays of the drive to get the offense rolling a bit. Running back Spencer Brown picks up 15-yards on three separate carries before Corral connects for a 18-yard completion, pushing the Panthers near midfield.

A holding penalty on the next set of downs brings a halt to all momentum and forces the Panthers to punt it away.

Drive start: DET 16 (7:25 4th)

The Martinez-led offense spends just a few minutes on the field before punting it back to Carolina. A 6-yard gain from Snell between two incompletions gives the Lions their second straight three-and-out of the quarter.

Drive starts: CAR 32 (6:23 4th)

The Panthers respond with a drive just as short-lived as the Lions. Linebacker James Houston and defensive lineman Cory Durden combine for a sack on third-and-10 after a couple of incompletions and the ball goes right back to Detroit.

Drive starts: DET 33 (5:02 4th)

Detroit’s offense looks just as anemic after two straight three-and-outs. Despite a gain of 8-yards by Snell on second down, Martinez is again flushed out of the pocket and races out of bounds for a loss of 2-yards.

Corral reinvigorates Carolina’s offense, cuts deficit to 20-17

Drive starts: DET 25 (15:00 3rd)

Nate Sudfeld takes over as quarterback for Bridgewater to start the second half. Sudfeld seems to keep the prior quarterback’s chemistry with Green, as the duo connects for a 12-yard gain on third-and-5.

The next set of downs kicks off with a -3-yard rushing attempt and an incompletion. Sudfeld twists his ankle moving out of the pocket on third-and-long and the Lions send out the punting unit.

Drive starts: CAR 20 (12:50 3rd)

Detroit’s defense brings its impressive 2nd quarter showing into the 3rd. A pair of short-yardage runs and a 7-yard pass gives the Panthers one first down. The secondary locks down on the next set of downs, notching three straight incompletions and forcing the punt.

Drive starts: DET 8 (10:40 3rd)

Adrian Martinez steps in for Sudfeld after his injury on the previous drive. He completes two passes on his first drive of the evening, good for 10-yards total. Martinez is flushed out of the pocket and out of bounds on third-and-6 after notching one first down and for the second time that quarter, Detroit’s punting unit takes the field.

Drive starts: CAR 35 (7:09 3rd)

A 1-yard gain and an incompletion quickly puts the Panthers in yet another third-and-long situation. However, quarterback Matt Corral puts on the burners out of the pocket to save the drive, blitzing ahead for a 27-yard scramble all the way to the Detroit 32-yard line.

A couple of runs combine for 11-yards and a 17-yard completion inches Panthers ever-closer to the endzone, placing them inside the 10-yard line.

Carolina punches it in at the goal line for a 4-yard touchdown to cut into Detroit’s double-digit lead.

Lions 20, Panthers 17 (4:00 3rd)

Detroit capitalizes on Carolina’s two turnovers, takes 20-10 lead heading into halftime

Drive starts: CAR 24 (7:36 2nd)

The Dalton-led Panthers offense picks up one first down at before sending the ball back to the Lions’ offense. A 20-yard completion on second down puts Carolina near midfield, but a short gain and two incompletions end the drive.

Drive starts: DET 7 (5:15 2nd)

A great punt from the Panthers pins the Lions inside their own 10-yard line. A pair of paltry gain sets up a third-and-3 and it looks as thought the drive might come to a quick end. But a leaping 5-yard catch from Drummond gives Detroit a first down and some all-important breathing room.

Bridgewater can’t quite replicate the third-down dot on the next set of downs, as Cota fails to come down with a tough catch. Detroit’s punting unit assumes the field.

Drive starts: CAR 36 (2:31 2nd)

Dalton tosses a 10-yard completion on second-and-8 and the Panthers are quickly right around midfield. Carolina starts off the two-minute drill with a 9-yard pass and free first down thanks to a holding penalty on Detroit.

The veteran quarterback keeps the chains moving for the Panthers, throwing a 17-yard pass down the middle of the field and entering the red zone.

Dalton nearly does it again on third-and-7 just a few plays later. However, cornerback Chase Lucas makes a leaping interception in the endzone to keep the Panthers off the board and give the Lions’ offense one more shot before halftime.

Drive starts: DET (0:51 2nd)

Detroit made Carolina pay for the Dalton interception. The drive starts with an incompletion and a 10-yard pass to Drummond.

Bridgewater connects with a streaking Antoine Green on the third play of the drive. Green races 70-yards to the endzone and the Lions score their seventeenth straight point to take a 17-10 lead over the hosting Panthers.

Lions 17, Panthers 10 (0:30 2nd)

Drive starts: CAR 25 (0:30 2nd)

Carolina immediately hands the ball (and momentum) back to Detroit, fumbling deep in its own territory.

Drive starts: CAR 27 (0:20 2nd)

Bridgewater and Green connect again on the first play of the drive, pushing the offense 15-yards deeper into Carolina territory. A scramble and a pair of incompletions puts Detroit at fourth down inside the 10-yard line, and Patterson comes out to kick his second field goal of the night, a 27-yarder.

Lions 20, Panthers 10 (0:00 2nd)

Lions’ offense falls short at goal line, settle for game-tying field goal

Drive starts: CAR 20 (12:23 2nd)

Andy Dalton takes the keys to the offense from Young to start the Panthers’ third drive. He tosses an incompletion on third-and-2 on the first set of downs and the Panthers quickly send out the punting unit.

Drive starts: DET 32 (11:05 2nd)

It doesn’t take long for Bridgewater to quickly push the offense into Carolina territory. After a short completion, he finds wide receiver Dylan Drummond racing down the seam for a 20-yard gain.

The next chunk yardage comes courtesy of a Panthers error. Bridgewater launches a deep pass to Cota inside the 10-yard line. The undrafted receiver doesn’t come down with the catch, but a pass-interference penalty on the Panthers gives Detroit a 36-yard gain anyways.

A pair of runs from Reynolds places Detroit at the 2-yard line. Cota drops an open pass from Bridgewater on third-and-goal and the Lions keep the offense on the field. However, a false start changes Dan Campbell’s mind and the field goal unit takes the field. Patterson kicks a game-tying 25-yard field goal.

Detroit 10, Panthers 10 (7:42 2nd)

Reynolds punches it in at the goal line, Detroit cuts deficit to 10-7

Drive starts: DET 32 (2:26 1st)

Quarterback Teddy Bridgewater is back on the field for the Lions’ second drive of the night. A quick 4-yard completion is followed up by a 21-yard strike to wide receiver Chase Cota, pushing into Carolina territory.

Running back Craig Reynolds picks up the first down with a key 4-yard gain on third-and-3 and Detroit is in the redzone. Reynolds makes another solid gain just a couple plays later, finding the edge for 10-yards and setting up a first-and-goal for Detroit.

For the third time in the drive, Reynold makes the drive-saving play for Detroit. He punches it in on a third-and-goal draw, slipping in for a 5-yard touchdown.

Panthers 10, Lions 7 (12:29 2nd)

Another impressive drive from Young puts the Panthers up 10-0

Drive starts: CAR 37 (8:00 1st)

Cornerback Khalil Dorsey puts Detroit’s offense in fantastic starting position for its opening drive of the night. He bounces off a tackle early on and races all the way down to the Panthers’ 37-yard line.

However, the offense looks much like it did in last week’s 25-7 loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars. Detroit steps on its own toes with a 10-yard holding penalty on the first play of the drive and the offense can’t make up the lost yardage.

Kicker Riley Patterson’s 53-yard field goal attempt comes up just short and the Lions still trail 3-0.

Drive starts: CAR 43 (6:22 1st)

Young opens his second drive of the night with a completion to Adam Thielen, quickly pushing the Panthers into Lions’ territory. Carolina faces a third-and-9 on the next series, but Young escapes the pocket for yet another key first down pickup.

After a couple of short gains, Young slings it back to Thielen in the endzone for a 16-yard touchdown, extending Carolina’s lead to 10-0.

Panthers 10, Lions 0 (2:25 1st)

Bryce Young driven drive stalls out in redzone, Panthers take early 3-0 lead

Drive starts: CAR 25 (15:00 1st)

Carolina’s starters open the game on offense against mostly backups for Detroit’s defense. Quarterback Bryce Young starts with a 14-yard completion. Young completes a 3-yard pass on the next set of down, then scrambles on second and third down to reach the line to gain near midfield.

Carolina’s offense continues to march into Detroit territory, continuing to rely on the efficient play of Young. The drive nearly stalls out just outside the redzone, but cornerback Starling Thomas commits a pass interference penalty and the Panthers move inside the 20-yard line.

Detroit’s defense makes up for it on the next play, thanks to a sack from linebacker James Houston and defensive end Romeo Okwara. Young follows up the negative play with a pair of incompletions and the Panthers settle for a 41-yard field goal, taking an early 3-0 lead.

Panthers 3, Lions 0 (8:13 1st)


The Lions wrap up the preseason against the Panthers in Carolina on Friday night.

The matchup likely won’t include many of the Lions’ prominent players. Detroit’s two previous preseason games were mostly opportunities for rookies to gather more experience and settling some of the remaining roster battles from training camp.

Last week’s 25-7 loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars featured an anemic performance from the offense. Quarterback Teddy Bridgewater was the starter to open the game and was eventually replaced by Nate Sudfeld late in the second quarter. Both quarterbacks put up subpar performances. Bridgewater completed five passes for a grand total of 34 yards, while Sudfeld completed nine passes for 80 yards.

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The rushing attack also lacked any sort of competency. Nobody emerged as the obvious standout for the third-string running back slot. Jermar Jefferson’s 16 yards led the team, as the Lions finished with a paltry 35 yards on the ground.

The preseason finale against the Panthers offers Bridgewater a shot to redeem last week’s tepid showing and should provide some last-minute evidence for the organization with final cuts around the corner.

Follow along here for live updates from Detroit News contributor Alex Faber.

NFL preseason


Kickoff: 8 p.m. Friday, Bank of America Stadium, Charlotte, North Carolina

▶ TV/radio: CBS/97.1 FM

Records: Lions 1-1; Panthers 0-2

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