Week 11 Recap: Detroit Lions vs. Carolina Panthersby Celeste Sabin November 22, 2020 1 comment
The Detroit Lions traveled to Charlotte, NC to face the Carolina Panthers for the tenth time. The Panthers lead the all-time series, 6-3, which includes winning the last two of three meetings. Both teams entered this week with battered rosters and dealing with less than ideal seasons up to this point. Detroit came into Week 11 with a 4-5 record on the season, while Carolina entered the game with a dismal 3-7 record, including a five-game losing streak.
Both quarterbacks were injured and questionable leading up to the game and while Matthew Stafford was cleared to play with a broken finger, it was decided at game time Teddy Bridgewater would sit this game out. P.J. Walker, who came in for Bridgewater when he was injured last week would start his first professional game on Sunday against the Lions.
Carolina opened the game with possession of the ball and neither team converted their opening drive into the first points of the game. Carolina, however, did score first in their next drive when Mike Davis finished the ten-play drive by rushing the ball up the middle for the one-yard touchdown. The Panthers had the early lead, 7-0 with 2:21 left in the first quarter.
In the next drive, the Panthers received the ball back early when the Lions fumbled the ball and Marquis Haynes recovered the fumble forcing the turnover. The first quarter ended a few plays later and the Panthers kept the lead heading into the second quarter.
Carolina was unable to capitalize on the fumble and instead turned the ball over as well. Walker threw a pass intended for D.J. Moore which would have been a touchdown catch, but Amani Oruwariye picked the ball in the endzone and not only squashed the touchdown attempt, but gave the ball to the Lions.
The Lions were also unable to convert the turnover into any points in their opening drive. Both defensive lines kept the opposing team’s offense from making any big moves in the next couple of sets of possessions.
Carolina’s defense was able to take advantage of a battered Lions’ offensive line and force the stops, while the same thing happened with Detroit’s defensive line.
Neither team scored any points in the second quarter and Carolina held on to the 7-0 lead. The Panthers had 38 plays for 204 total yards in the first half, compared to the Lions’ 25 plays for 89 total yards.
The Panthers dominated in passing yards with 157 yards, but they didn’t dominate in the rushing game. The Lions put up 35 rushing yards versus the Panthers’ 47 rushing yards. In addition, Carolina’s offense stayed on the field for nearly eight minutes longer than the Detroit offense.
Jamie Collins Sr. led the Lions defense in the first half with eight total tackles, nearly a quarter of all tackles in the first half for the whole team. Collins also had a pass deflection in the first half. John Penisini put a sack on the books and Oruwariye put the one interception in the records.
There were several players who played a part in the Panthers’ 25 total tackles in the first half, and while no one stood out for sacks or interceptions, Haynes had the one fumble recovery as did Dennis Daley.
Detroit started the third quarter with possession of the ball and went three and out. Carolina’s first drive ended with a touchdown after Walker connected with Curtis Samuel for the 17-yard score. This was Walker’s first professional touchdown pass. The Panthers took a 14-0 lead.
The Lions nearly put their first touchdown of the game up in their next drive, but it was nullified due to an illegal formation penalty and the drive ended with Stafford being sacked on the thrid-and-ten by Brian Burns and Efe Obada.
Detroit held Carolina to a field goal score in their next possession when Joey Slye kicked the ball from 56-yards out and put it right down the middle of the posts. The Panthers now had a 17-0 lead with 2:04 left in the third quarter. The lead would remain true throughout the duration of the quarter.
The fourth quarter started with Detroit keeping possession of the ball at the Carolina 25 yard line and after Stafford was sacked in the second play the Lions decided a field goal score would be better than no score at all. Unfortunately for Matt Prater, who attempted the kick from 51 yards out, the ball went wide left and he missed the attempt. The Lions remained scoreless.
Carolina’s first drive of the final quarter could have and should have ended with a touchdown, but for the second time this game, Walker had his pass intended for Moore intercepted in the endzone by Desmond Trufant. A potential saving grace for Detroit and a huge disappointment for Walker and the Panthers.
Stafford struggled in Detroit’s next possession. He was sacked two times back to back, four times total up to this point of the game. He ended up being sacked 5 times in total. Even though the sacks didn’t cause fumbles or turnovers, the Lions couldn’t connect or overcome Carolina’s defense in this drive.
In the next drive, Carolina opted for a field goal attempt to finish out the drive, and Slye put it through the posts from 37 yards out giving his team a 20-0 lead with five minutes left to play.
In the following Detroit possession, Stafford was sacked yet again and the team just couldn’t pull it together to put any points up. Carolina closed it out in the final drive and for just the second time this season, a team was shut out with Carolina’s 20-0 victory.
Final Thoughts and Highlights
Getting a shutout in the NFL isn’t something that happens all of the time, and most were probably not expecting this game to end with 20-0 shut out by the Panthers. Everything looked comparable on paper prior to the game, even with injured players on and off the field, but this didn’t transfer to the field during the game.
The Lions’ offensive game was definitely affected by Stafford’s injury and his lack of pass protection. The Lions’ defense held up strong. Even though the team was shut out, it could have been by an even larger blowout score.
P.J. Walker deserves a lot of credit for his first career start. Not only did he help lead his offense to break a five-game losing streak, but he also put up decent stats for his first start. Unfortunately, he did throw the two endzone interceptions, but with growth and practice, he will avoid these types of costly errors.
— Carolina Panthers (@Panthers) November 22, 2020
— Carolina Panthers (@Panthers) November 22, 2020
The Panthers will travel to Minneapolis, MN to meet the Vikings next week. The Lions will partake in their yearly Thanksgiving Day tradition returning home to face the Houston Texans on Thursday afternoon.
Follow Celeste Sabin on Twitter @CelesteSabin
Main Credit Image: Embed from Getty Images