Five takeaways from Panthers' win over Lions
Posted October 9
Detroit — The Carolina Panthers picked up their fourth win of the season on Sunday, holding on to defeat the Detroit Lions, 27-24, at Ford Field.
Carolina moves to 4-1 this season with the victory and takes over sole possession of first place in the NFC South with Atlanta (3-1) on its bye week.
The Panthers will return to action Thursday for a primetime matchup with the NFC East Division leading Philadelphia Eagles (4-1).
Here are five takeaways from the Panthers’ victory against Detroit:
Cam Newton continues stellar play
Cam Newton looks to have hit his stride after standout performances in each of the past two weeks, posting back-to-back games with at least 300 yards passing for the first time since his rookie season.
On Sunday against Detroit, Newton finished 26 of 33 for 355 yards and three touchdowns. Newton tallied 316 passing yards and three scores in a 33-30 victory against New England in Week 4.
He also posted a season-high 78.8 completion percentage and a passer rating of 141.8 versus the Lions, the fourth-highest passer rating of his career.
Newton showed his fair share of rust in the Panthers’ first three weeks of the season, but the former MVP has thrown for 671 yards, three touchdowns and one interceptions over the last two games.
Ed Dickson has career day against Detroit
Panthers tight end Ed Dickson on Sunday showed why Carolina was comfortable with him taking the reins while All-Pro Greg Olsen rehabs his broken foot.
The veteran tight end posted a career high 175 receiving yards against Detroit, the first 100-yard game of his eight-year career.
Newton hooked up with Dickson twice for gains of 50-plus yards. Dickson hauled in a career-high 65-yard reception on the Panthers’ first scoring drive, and later grabbed a 57-yards pass from Newton.
Dickson’s performance was the second-best receiving output by a Panthers tight end in franchise history, second only to Olsen, who tallied 181 yards last season in Week 5 against Tampa Bay.
Panthers’ defense gets to Matthew Stafford
Carolina posted a season-high six sacks against Detroit, two more than any game this season. The Panthers’ previous high was in Week 1 against San Francisco.
Kawann Short led the Panthers with a game-high two sacks on Sunday. Mario Addison, Captain Munnerlyn, Julius Peppers and Shaq Thompson tallied one sack each against the Lions.
Peppers, 37, leads the team with 5.5 sacks, which also ranks fourth in the league. Addison and Short have both posted three sacks apiece.
Carolina’s 17 total sacks rank tied for third in the NFL with the Pittsburgh Steelers and Los Angeles Chargers.
Christian McCaffrey scores first pro touchdown
The Panthers’ 2017 first-round draft choice finally found pay dirt after being kept out through the first four weeks.
McCaffrey scored on a 6-yard shovel pass from Newton, scampering past Lions defenders on the way to the end zone.
The former Stanford Cardinal finished with five catches for 31 yards, and three carries for seven yards.
McCaffrey leads the Panthers with 27 receptions to go along with 237 yards. He’s also tallied 34 carries this season for 96 yards.
Panthers win turnover battle against NFL's best
Detroit entered Sunday’s tilt with a league-high 11 takeaways, but the Lions were shut out against Carolina.
The Panthers tallied one takeaway in the tilt, their first since forcing two turnovers in Week 1 against San Francisco.
Short took down Stafford at Detroit’s 25-yard line, and the ball was recovered by Thomas Davis at the Lions’ 23 yard-line.
Davis' fumble recovery snapped the Panthers' three-game streak without a takeaway, the longest drought in team history.
Carolina took advantage off the field position with a 44-yard Graham Gano field goal to give the Panthers a 27-10 lead in the third quarter.
Addison also stripped-sacked Stafford on the Lions’ final drive of the first quarter, but offensive tackle Greg Robinson recovered the fumble to keep possession with Detroit.