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Carolina Panthers

Turnovers create too deep a hole to climb out of in Detroit

Cade Mays, Bryce Young

DETROIT – It's been a recurring theme for the Panthers as they work to get their offense going amid an 0-5 start.

Carolina has committed too many turnovers, and those mistakes have translated into too many easy advantages for its opponents.

The Panthers' 42-24 loss at Detroit on Sunday was a prime example, in which two Bryce Young interceptions and a Miles Sanders fumble gave the Lions 21 points.

Detroit's offense scored a touchdown off all three takeaways, all in the first half, and it helped them get out to a 28-10 lead at halftime.

"Anytime you turn the ball over, it takes a drive away from you, gives great position to them, and puts our defense in a tough situation," Young said. "So I own that. That's on me."

Young's first pick of the day was thrown toward Lions defensive end Aidan Hutchinson, who jumped in front of tight end Ian Thomas on a slip screen. Hutchinson returned the interception 6 yards to the Carolina 20-yard line, setting up an easy five-play touchdown drive.

Young said after the game he wished he had "dirted" the ball on that play instead of throwing it toward Thomas.

Young's second interception was caught by cornerback Jerry Jacobs, who came into Sunday's game off a two-interception night against the Packers last Thursday.

Head coach Frank Reich called the first interception a "fluke thing" and credited it to a good play by Hutchinson. Reich said the second interception was probably a forced throw when Young shouldn't have gone for it.

"That's a good football team," Reich said of the Lions. "They're an explosive offense. We knew that coming in. We made it easy for them by turning the ball over. … What we've talked about is make teams beat us, make them go the long road. So we haven't been able to put together a game yet where I feel like we've been able to do that."

Young has committed six turnovers across his first four NFL starts, including four interceptions (two in Week 1 at Atlanta, two in Week 5 at Detroit) and two lost fumbles (one in Week 2 against New Orleans, one in Week 4 against Minnesota which was returned for a touchdown).

"It's tough; you put your defense in a tough situation," Young said. "They're a really good team and really good on offense as well, so it's not like they need any handouts. Then you already set them up, so those are on me, and I have to do a better job of eliminating those."

Reich said he was confident in Young's ability to adjust and develop from his early mistakes, and he didn't let all of the onus fall upon his rookie quarterback.

At the same time, he knows there needs to be improvement, too.

"Some of it is (when) you play the quarterback position, and you touch the ball every play and throw it enough times, you're going to make some (mistakes)," Reich said. "Been too many – we've had too many turnovers. They're not all on Bryce. We've had a couple games where he didn't throw an interception. But we've still got to look at every one and try to eliminate all of them. I know he's trying to do that."

Sanders has accounted for the other two Panther turnovers this season, both of which have been lost fumbles – one in Week 1 at Atlanta and the other at Detroit in Week 5.

Turnovers are the kind of issues that keep the Panthers from deriving too much from an offensive performance with some improvements.

Against the Lions, Carolina put up the most yards it has with Young at the helm (342). Young threw his longest NFL completion – a 30-yard connection to wide receiver Adam Thielen – and tallied a career-best three touchdowns as well.

But the wins are what count the most, and the Panthers haven't gotten one yet.

"It's hard; again, we're all competitors," Young said. "And ultimately, the one stat we care about is a win. Obviously, it's hard when that's not your result. But we have to be constructive.

"As a team, we have to take the good with the bad. We have to be able to acknowledge positives so that we can build off of it, and we can grow from it."

Thielen has the veteran perspective on the issue and hasn't lost sight of his belief.

"I've been around bad football teams; this is not a bad football team," Thielen said. "We're playing bad football, but we're not a bad football team. So I say that, and we've been talking a lot, but you've got to go out there and prove it. And the best way to do that is just to keep fighting, keep fighting, keep fighting.

"Every time I've been a part of teams that just keep fighting, it turns. It turns for the good. I don't know when that's going to be, but I know that it's going to happen if we keep fighting on."

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

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