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Carolina Duo “Smash and Dash” Detroit 31-22

The Detroit Lions kept their perfectly defeated season alive with a 31-22 loss to the Carolina Panthers, at chilly Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte. Carolina bounced back after trailing 10-0 into the second quarter to hand the Lions their 10th defeat of the season, maintaining their position at the top of the NFC South.

Carolina set a franchise record with 264 yards rushing, and the “Smash and Dash” tandem of Jonathan Stewart and DeAngelo Willams combined for a whopping 250 yards; it also marked the first time that Carolina had two backs each rush for a hundred yards in a game. Rookie running back Stewart achieved his first 100-yard rushing game, and recorded his 6th touchdown on a 2nd & 13 for 22 yards, while gaining 130 yards on 15 carries.

Williams is in his third year in the NFL, and seems to have hit his stride, especially with three three consecutive 100-yard games. He contributed two touchdowns to the contest, with one being a beautiful 56-yard burst up the middle.

Panthers quarterback Jake Delhomme could not get much of a rhythm going again this week, though he did not throw any interceptions, nor take a sack. Delhomme completed 10 of 19 passes for 98 yards. Center Ryan Kalil was out again with an ankle sprain, and reliable Geoff Hangartner filled in. Offensive linemen Jordan Gross and Travelle Wharton were particularly hard to handle for the Lions’ defense today, as well as consistent bulldozer, Brad Hoover.

Julius Peppers is just scary-good right now; not only did he sack Culpepper twice, but he dominated him in the process… and kindly, Daunte is a big boy. Peppers has a league-high 5 forced fumbles, and he produced one with 1:22 left in the game to shut down a Detroit comeback. Peppers claims that sacks aren’t that important, and where he’s concerned that’s an absolute truth. He does things all over the field that other defensive ends can only dream of doing.

Rookie running back Kevin Smith was a highlight for the Lions; with 24 carries for 112 yards, he produced more for the offense than superstar-in-the-making Calvin Johnson. However, Johnson made an incredible 29-yard touchdown catch from newly un-retired QB Daunte Culpepper on the opening drive; the first the Panther defense has allowed all season.

Carolina did a poor job of containing Detroit’s Smith, and must shore that up for their next contest against run-oriented Atlanta.

The Panther secondary had a good showing, with an interception by Chris Gamble, and stout play by Richard Marshall, Chris Harris, and rookie Charles Godfrey. Godfrey had a key interception with 4:58 left in the 4th quarter, and set up a DeAngelo Williams touchdown.

For the second week in a row, Carolina managed to eke out a win that should have come easier than it did; they are 6-0 at home, vastly improving upon their 2-6 record of last year. Up next is division foe Atlanta, whom have been surprising everyone with how good they are playing; this will be a hard-fought game for both teams.

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