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Rapid Reactions: Panthers fall in Detroit on a difficult day

Bryce Young

DETROIT — The Panthers lost another game on Sunday, and that wasn't at the forefront of their minds afterward.

The Panthers dropped a 42-24 decision to the Lions at Ford Field to fall to 0-5, and their thoughts were immediately with rookie guard Chandler Zavala, who was taken to an area hospital with a neck injury.

Zavala was alert and had movement in all his extremities, but the injury was a frightening one for the Panthers and caused a seven-minute delay in the game while he was treated on the field.

Team medical personnel moved quickly to stabilize him and get him on a cart while players kneeled silently around him. He did give a thumbs-up signal as he left the field, the kind of good news they needed to see after he stayed down on the field for several minutes.

The game felt like an afterthought at that point, and a number of problems put them in an early hole against the Lions (4-1).

The Panthers turned the ball over three times in the first half, with Bryce Young throwing two interceptions and Miles Sanders fumbling (his second of the year and first since the opener at Atlanta).

Without the kind of offensive balance they needed early, the Lions continued to bring pressure on Young.

He was under duress in a collapsing pocket when he threw his first pick, trying to force the ball short to blocking tight end Ian Thomas. Lions defensive end Aidan Hutchinson stepped in front of that one.

On the second, Lions cornerback Jerry Jacobs undercut a route intended for Adam Thielen, picking off Young.

The rookie quarterback also threw a pair of picks in the opener at Atlanta and has four interceptions and two lost fumbles in four games.

And when the Lions created those turnovers, they made the Panthers pay. All three of those miscues by the Panthers turned into immediate touchdown drives as the Lions raced to a 28-10 lead at halftime.

— Any recent progress the Panthers had shown on defense was hard to see.

They entered the week third in the league in third down conversion percentage allowed, and the Lions didn't exactly kill it in that category, but they didn't have to.

The Lions were just 4-of-10 on third downs, but they didn't need many chances, since they were 4-of-4 in the red zone.

Playing without three-quarters of the opening day starting secondary, the Panthers struggled to stop their quick-strike offense (the Lions responded to the turnovers with drives of 5, 10, and 1 play).

Cornerback Donte Jackson was inactive after suffering a shoulder injury last week, along with safety Xavier Woods (hamstring). With Jaycee Horn still on IR with a hamstring injury in Week 2, they were backfilling in the back end of the defense.

— While it comes with the early turnovers, there were a few bright spots in Young's day.

He threw three touchdown passes, one each to tight end Tommy Tremble, wide receiver DJ Chark Jr., and Thielen. The Chark touchdown (his second of the year), came a play after Young drew a roughing the passer penalty against the Lions, and the Thielen came inside the two-minute warning.

There were some isolated moments, but not nearly enough to take solace in the way the game went as a whole.

— The Panthers head to Miami next Sunday before a much-needed bye week. The Dolphins beat the Giants to improve to 4-1.

View all the action from the Panthers' game against the Detroit Lions in Week 5.

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