The Detroit Lions sure do have a way of make things interesting.
After falling behind 27-10 in the fourth quarter, Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford threw two touchdown passes to tight end Darren Fells late in the fourth quarter to trim the Panthers lead to just 27-24.
Detroit's defense had a chance to stop the Panthers on a 3rd and 9 play with 2:30 left in the game, but Carolina quarterback Cam Newton hit receiver Kelvin Benjamin on a 17-yard connection down the seam that essentially ended the game.
View in-game photos from the Detroit Lions Week 5 game vs. Carolina Panthers.
The Lions' defense has been the big story so far in the team's 3-1 start. They were the story again Sunday, but not the way they had hoped.
Fresh off a terrific performance in a win over New England last week, Newton and the Carolina passing attack had its way with Detroit's defense Sunday at Ford Field.
Newton threw for 355 yards and three touchdowns, and finished with a passer rating of 141.8.
Detroit led 10-3 early in the second quarter after a Zach Zenner 1-yard touchdown, but Newton took over from there, hitting Christian McCaffrey (6 yards), Devin Funchess (10) and Kelvin Benjamin (31) for touchdowns to help spearhead 24 unanswered points and a 27-10 lead that turned out to be too much for Detroit to overcome.
For the first time all year, the Lions' defense didn't force a turnover.
Detroit's offense finally woke up late in the fourth quarter, but by then it was just too late. The Lions didn't reach 100 total yards of offense until midway through the third quarter, and had five three-and-out possessions and a fumble deep in their own territory that led to a field goal.
QB comparison: We've already highlighted how good Newton was Sunday.
Stafford had to deal with unrelenting pressure for a second straight week. He was sacked six times vs. Carolina after being sacked six times last week in Minnesota.
The pressure did a good job of stymying Detroit's pass game until Carolina loosened up a bit in the fourth quarter with a three-score lead.
Stafford ended up completing 22 of his 35 pass attempts for 229 yards with those two touchdowns, no interceptions and one fumble lost for a passer rating of 103.2
Dickson effect: Panthers tight end Ed Dickson had himself a ball game. Entering the game with a career-high of 79 receiving yards in a game, Dickson recorded four catches for 159 yards in the first half alone. He finished with five receptions for 175 yards.
Filling in for the injured Greg Olsen (foot), Dickson became the first Panthers tight end not named Olsen to record 100 receiving yards in a game since Wesley Walls in 2000.
Key stat: The Panthers were penalized 11 times for 100 yards, but were able to overcome it. Two 15-yard facemask penalties and a defensive pass interference call set up Detroit's first touchdown, but that was the extent of the damage.
Rookie watch: Lions linebacker Jarrad Davis returned to action after missing the last two weeks with concussion and neck injuries. Despite the loss, and the poor performance overall by the defense, Davis was solid. He recorded eight tackles, two for loss and defended a pass.