Panthers keep division hopes alive with 37-23 win over Lions

Sam Darnold completed 15 of 22 passes for 250 yards and a touchdown and ran for a score to improve to 3-1 as Carolina’s starting QB.

SHARE Panthers keep division hopes alive with 37-23 win over Lions
Carolina Panthers running back D’Onta Foreman runs during the first half of Saturday’s game against the Detroit Lions.

Carolina Panthers running back D’Onta Foreman runs during the first half of Saturday’s game against the Detroit Lions.

Rusty Jones/AP

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — D’Onta Foreman ran for a career-high 165 yards and a touchdown, Chuba Hubbard added 125 yards rushing and the Carolina Panthers racked up a franchise record 320 yards on the ground to beat the Detroit Lions 37-23 on Saturday and keep their NFC South title hopes alive.

Sam Darnold completed 15 of 22 passes for 250 yards and a touchdown and ran for a score to improve to 3-1 as Carolina’s starting QB. Raheem Blackshear and D.J. Moore also scored for the Panthers, who amassed a team-record 570 yards of offense in the coldest game ever played at Bank of America Stadium.

The Panthers had seven runs of longer than 20 yards against a Lions defense that had allowed just 84 yards rushing per game over the last five weeks. Foreman and Hubbard both exceeded 100 yards rushing in the first half as the Panthers built a 24-7 lead.

Carolina (6-9) can clinch its first division title since 2015 with wins at Tampa Bay and New Orleans.

Jared Goff threw three touchdown passes to third-string tight end Shane Zylstra for the Lions. Detroit (7-8) had won six of its previous seven games to pull within a half-game of Washington in the race for the NFC’s final wild card spot entering the weekend.

The temperature was 20 degrees at kickoff with a wind chill of 9, and the Panthers made it clear they were going to pound the ball against the Lions after being held to 21 yards rushing in last week’s loss to Pittsburgh.

The Panthers ran five times for 85 yards on their opening possession and took a 7-0 lead with Blackshear scoring on a 7-yard run. Hubbard, who got the start over Foreman, carried three times for 70 yards on the drive.

The Lions countered with a 3-yard TD pass from Goff to Zylstra. The Panthers then scored 17 straight points to close the half by repeatedly running through gaping holes.

Darnold scored on a 3-yard quarterback keeper and Foreman added a 4-yard TD run to make it 21-7.

With 59 seconds left in the half and leading by 14, the Panthers refused to take a knee and go to the locker room, instead using the running game to go 68 yards in less than a minute to set up the first of Eddy Pineiro’s three field goals.

Carolina had 364 yards by halftime, a first-half franchise record.

INJURIES

Lions: RB Jamaal Williams suffered a lower-body injury but returned.

Panthers: CB Jaycee Horn left the game in the fourth quarter with a wrist injury. ... WR Shi Smith (foot, head) left in the third quarter.

UP NEXT

Lions: Host the Bears on Jan. 1. The Lions beat the Bears 31-30 on Nov. 13.

Panthers: Visit Tampa Bay on Jan. 1. The Panthers beat the Bucs 21-3 on Oct. 23.

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