No Teddy Bridgewater, no Christian McCaffrey, no problem for the Panthers.
Carolina backup quarterback P.J. Walker, making the first start of his career, had no trouble finding open receivers in the Lions’ secondary as the Panthers earned an easy 20-0 win. Walker was far from perfect, and the Panthers would have won by more if not for Walker’s two interceptions in the end zone, but he did a solid job for his first start.
No one on the Lions did a solid job at anything. Their record dropped to 4-6 with the loss, and any hope that they might have had of sneaking back into the NFC wild card race disappeared as well. Lions ownership has said that head coach Matt Patricia needs to be in contention to save his job. If that’s the case, Patricia will be out of a job soon.
The Panthers, at 4-7, aren’t going anywhere either. But first-year coach Matt Rhule has a more competitive team than most expected. Brian Burns, a 22-year-old pass rusher, sacked Matthew Stafford twice and looks like a very promising cog in the young defense.
The Panthers look like they’re in good shape in Year One of their rebuild. The Lions look like they waited too long to begin their rebuild.