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The Detroit Lions were able to pull off a come-from-behind win as they beat the Carolina Panthers 49-35. This game was a tale of two halves as the Lions struggled early in the first quarter, turning the ball over on their first three possessions of the game. Matthew Stafford accounted for two of those turnovers as he threw two interceptions, and left fans wondering if his injured throwing hand was going to be a problem.
The other turnover was committed by running back Keiland Williams, which eventually led to a Cam Newton touchdown pass to Steve Smith. On Lions turnovers the Panthers were able to jump out to a 10-0 lead after the 1st quarter. In the 2nd quarter, Stafford settled down, found his offensive groove and managed to score 14 points off two touchdown throws to recently reacquired Kevin Smith and wide out Titus Young.
The only problem was that Newton had the Panthers offense moving up and down the field just as effectively and extending the Panther lead to 13 going into halftime. That would be the last time the Panthers would have the lead as Stafford and the Lions put on a clinic and owned the second half. In the 3rd quarter the Lions defense didn’t allow the Panthers to cross their own 40 yard line and when they did, linebacker DeAndre Levy came up with an interception that brought a productive Panthers drive to a screeching halt.
With the defense becoming stingy and providing favorable starting position for the offense, Stafford tacked on two more touchdowns to give the Lions their first lead of the game. Early in the fourth quarter the Lions extended their lead off a Smith rushing touchdown. Smith provided unexpected positive production; he was picked up by the Lions to fill the void left by Jahvid Best who has missed three games with lingering concussion symptoms.
Down eight points, Newton had no expectations of letting this game slip through his hands; he composed an 80 yard drive culminating in a touchdown and a two point conversion to Smith to tie the game at 35. However, the combination of Stafford and Smith proved to be too much as they both scored touchdowns on the next two Lion possessions.
Stafford ended the day with five touchdowns and hopefully laying to rest that his injured hand will affect his play. The Lion faithful can only hope that this is true with the undefeated Packers coming to town next week.
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