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RECAP: Lions at Panthers

CHARLOTTE – Up and down the field, big run after big run, Carolina ball carries ran the football Saturday afternoon. The Detroit Lions' defense had no answers to stop it, and when it was all said and done the Panthers amassed 320 rushing yards and 570 total yards to hand the Lions a critical loss on Christmas Eve.

The Panthers snapped Detroit's three-game win streak and put a bit of a wrench in their playoff chances with a 37-23 win.

The game started with a 17-yard run by Panthers running back Raheem Blackshear and the Carolina ground game never let up from there. The Panthers recorded explosive runs of 38, 35, 30, 21 (twice) and 17 yards on the ground in the first half alone. The Panthers would end up with a franchise-record 364 total yards and 240 rushing yards in the first 30 minutes of play.

Running backs Chuba Hubbard and D'Onta Foreman would both eclipse 100 rushing yards in first half. It's the first time a duo has accomplished that since 2006 (Maurice Jones-Drew and Fred Taylor). Foreman finished with 165 yards and Hubbard with 125.

View photos from the Detroit Lions vs. Carolina Panthers Week 16 game at Bank of America Stadium on Saturday, Dec. 24 in Charlotte, NC.

It took only five plays (all runs) for the Panthers to find the end zone on the game's opening possession as Carolina recorded explosive runs of 17, 30 and 35 yards, respectively, capped off by Blackshear's 7-yard touchdown run.

The Lions' offense responded, however. Quarterback Jared Goff converted two third downs on Detroit's opening possession and found tight end Shane Zylstra open in the end zone from three yards out to tie the game at 7-7.

Carolina would take a 14-7 lead following a Goff fumble at the Carolina 9-yard line on Detroit's second possession of the game that was recovered by Carolina defensive end Yetur Gross-Matos. The Panthers went 91 yards from there in eight plays finished off by quarterback Sam Darnold's 3-yard run.

Carolina would make it 21-7 on a Foreman 4-yard run late in the second quarter, taking a 24-7 lead to the locker room at the half on a 37-yard field goal as time expired.

A 47-yard pass from Darnold to wide receiver DJ Moore on a 3rd and 13 play on Carolina's first possession of the second half set up a 5-yard Darnold to Moore touchdown to increase their lead to 31-7 early in the third quarter.

Goff hooked up with Zylstra two more times for touchdowns in the second half from seven and one-yard out but it was too little too late after Carolina amassed a big lead early thanks to their rushing attack.

QB comparison: Goff finished the game with good numbers, completing 25 of his 42 pass attempts for 355 yards with three touchdowns, no interceptions and a 110.7 passer rating. He did have the one turnover on the fumble, his first turnover since Nov. 6 against Green Bay.

Darnold was efficient in the passing game for Carolina. He finished 15-of-22 passing for 250 yards with a touchdown, no interceptions and a 121.4 rating. He rushed for 20 yards and a touchdown.

Key moment: Detroit got the ball for their second possession of the game at their own 9-yard line and Goff orchestrated a really nice drive to move the football all the way down to the Carolina 8-yard line in 12 plays, but the 13th play was a fumbled snap by Goff recovered by Gross-Matos at their 9-yard line. It was a chance for the Lions to take a 14-7 lead or at the very least go up 10-7 with a field goal.

Instead, Carolina got the ball. Darnold hit tight end Tommy Tremble for 18 yards on 1st down followed by a 38-yard run by Foreman to Detroit's 35-yard line. Six plays later the Panthers were in the end zone with a 14-7 edge. It was a critical turn of events early in this game.

Injury report: None to report for Detroit

Up next: vs. Chicago (3-12)

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