Make it three straight wins for the Detroit Lions, and Sunday's 42-24 victory over the Carolina Panthers might just be their most impressive to date.
All three phases contributed to the win as the Lions improved to 4-1 on the season. Detroit's defense forced three takeaways, the offense scored 21 points off those turnovers and six touchdowns total, and Detroit's special teams had another perfect outing.
Lions quarterback Jared Goff threw three touchdown passes in the contest, two to rookie tight end Sam LaPorta, which is just the fifth time in franchise history a rookie tight end has logged a multi-touchdown game. Goff also rushed for a 1-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter.
Running back David Montgomery had a 42-yard touchdown run, wide receiver Josh Reynolds had a 1-yard touchdown grab and running back Craig Reynolds capped the Lions scoring midway through the fourth quarter with a 5-yard TD run.
Montgomery finished with 109 yards and a touchdown to become the first Lion to rush for 100-plus yards and a touchdown in consecutive games since Kevin Jones in 2004. Detroit's nine rushing touchdowns through their first five games ties a franchise record set in 1970.
When it was all said and done, Detroit's offense totaled 377 yards, becoming the first Lions team since 1954 to start the season with at least 350 yards of total offense in each of their first five contests.
Detroit's defense continued their terrific play to start the year, limiting Carolina to under 100 rushing yards and providing three crucial takeaways, all in Carolina territory.
Defensive lineman Aidan Hutchinson notched his fourth career interception to give the offense the ball at the Carolina 31. Defensive back Will Harris recovered a fumble at the Carolina 37 forced by defensive lineman Alim McNeill. Cornerback Jerry Jacobs recorded his third interception of the season and his third in the last two games at the Carolina 23. Detroit's offense converted all three takeaways into touchdowns.
Tight end Tommy Tremble (1 yard), wide receiver DJ Chark (18) and wide receiver Adam Thielen (1) had touchdown grabs for Carolina.
QB comparison: Goff was terrific all afternoon, completing 20 of his 28 passes for 236 yards with three touchdowns, one rushing touchdown, no interceptions and a passer rating of 132.4. He's thrown at least two touchdown passes in 14 of his last 16 games at Ford Field.
Carolina quarterback Bryce Young, the No. 1 overall pick in this year's NFL Draft, was 25-of-41 passing with three touchdowns and two interceptions for an 82.1 passer rating.
Big plays: There was a three-play stretch in the second quarter that completely turned the game in Detroit's favor.
With the Lions leading 14-7 with just under four minutes left in the second quarter, Goff threw a 1-yard touchdown pass to Josh Reynolds in the back of the end zone to push their lead to 21-7.
The first play of the next Carolina possession was an interception thrown by Young to Jacobs that was returned to the Carolina 31-yard line.
The first play of the subsequent Lions possession was a reverse flea flicker on a pitch to Montgomery who handed it off to wide receiver Jameson Williams on the reverse who pitched it back to Goff. Goff found a wide-open LaPorta for the touchdown.
In the span of three plays from scrimmage the Lions saw their lead grow from 14-7 to 28-7.
Key stat: Turnovers are always the No. 1 stat in football and a big reason why the Lions handily defeated the Panthers Sunday was because they won the turnover battle 3-0.
Not only did the defense do a nice job creating takeaways, but the offense did a terrific job turning those turnovers into touchdowns on the short fields.
Injury report: Veteran cornerback Emmanuel Moseley, playing in his first game of the season, left in the first half with a knee injury and didn't return. Lions reserve running back Zonovan Knight left the game with a left shoulder injury after making an 8-yard reception in the third quarter. He also didn't return.
Up next: at Tampa Bay, Oct. 15, 4:25 p.m.