The Detroit Lions dominated the Carolina Panthers on Sunday afternoon. So when writing a “Detroit Lions studs and duds” piece, it really is hard to pick the actual duds. This was a complete team win from the opening kick and truthfully was a really fun game to watch. The offense was a completely dominant effort, while the defense stood on its head and created havoc for Bryce Young and the fledgling Panthers offense.
Detroit Lions Studs and Duds in dominate effort
As noted above, it's really hard to speak to “duds” when you're talking about a 42-24 taking-care-of-business type game. This is exactly the way this game should have gone and the Lions showed everyone today they aren't the SOL group that lost to teams they were supposed to beat, but handled business when they needed to. However, I was able to find one dud for the game. let's get into it.
Duds for the Detroit Lions vs. Panthers
Call it what you want, but I'm confident in this. The Lions would have beaten the Panthers 42-10, had it not been for Adrian Hill the referee for this game. Twice he called the Lions for roughing the passer, on third down, extending drives, and allowing the Panthers to score. First, he called on Charles Harris for seemingly just “playing football” because even the replays were lacking any type of evidence of a foul. The Panthers scored on their ensuing downs. Then, on their final possession, he called Alex Anzalone for roughing the passer, and it was only due to Bryce Young being too short for anyone's good. Anzalone hit him with a good form tackle, but because Young is knee-high to a grasshopper, the hit was “high” (normal for a regular-sized quarterback) and the drive extended. What a dud from Hill.
Studs for the Lions' domination against the Panthers
I promise I won't cop out and say, “This could really go to both the offense and the defense.” I won't, I won't, I won't. However, this could go to both the offense and the defense because both played exceptionally well. But, here are the three guys who really stood out this week:
Jared Goff: 20-28, 236 yards, 3 TDs, 1 RuTD
Jared Goff really does seem to be the perfect quarterback for this Ben Johnson-schemed offense. He knows how to distribute and take what the defense gives him. The Lions had seven different pass catches with multiple targets, which helped stymie the impact of missing Amon-Ra St. Brown. Goff has played exceptionally well this season and should he continue will finish as a top-5 quarterback, lead the Lions to a playoff victory, and probably sign an extension to remain here. Hard to argue with the production he's been putting up over the last calendar year.
David Montgomery: 19 carries for 109 yards, 5.7 avg, 1 TD, 2 catches for 20 yards.
Montgomery was the bell cow of the Lions this afternoon, while Jamyr Gibbs watched from the sidelines. There's no doubt the added workload helped Monty continue his ground dominance, acquiring his sixth touchdown in five games. He also accomplished something in this game that hasn't occurred in a Lions uniform since Kevin Jones (remember him?). A surprise signing this off-season, Montgomery has stepped into the Lions' backfield and is quickly establishing himself as a force to be reckoned with. He continues to allow the Lions to create a great balance and keep defenses guessing each and every down.
Aidan Hutchinson: 3 tackles, 1 sack, 2 TFL, and an INT
Hutchinson is the motor of this defense. As he goes, this team goes. He set the tone very early with one of the most incredible interceptions you'll ever see. Not to mention he was in the face of Bryce Young continually and opened up opportunities for others on the defense to work their magic. Hutchinson's ability to play the run well and dominate on pass rushes makes him one of the premier edge rushers in the league and someone that Lions fans should be thanking the Jacksonville Jaguars for being dummies when they didn't take him #1 overall a year ago. I know we appreciate it!
The bottom line
The Detroit Lions studs and duds are really a culmination of a ton of great work that was done by the entire team. And while we are singling out just a few of those players, this really was a complete team win. There's no doubt that should the Lions play like this each and every week they would be a very tough team to beat by anyone. While we sit here at 4-1, with Tampa Bay waiting in the wings, we can enjoy a team that is in control of the top spot of the NFC North, playing well on both sides of the ball, and ready to make some noise throughout the NFL.