Highlights and lowlights from Carolina’s 49-35 loss to Detroit Sunday, which dropped the Panthers to 2-8:
Worst waste: The Panthers scored 35 points and still lost by 14? Are you kidding me? As coach Ron Rivera said afterward, he would take 35 points any day of the week. It was a season high in points for Carolina, and the second-most points the Panthers have ever scored in a loss.
Worst blown lead: The Panthers led 24-7 in the second quarter and 27-14 at halftime, but then got blasted in the second half as Detroit outscored Carolina, 35-8.
Worst personal career high: Rookie quarterback Cam Newton threw four interceptions, his personal high in his short career.
Best silver lining: Rookie Kealoha Pilares bolted a franchise-record 101 yards on a kickoff return for a touchdown, helped by some superb blocking from the beleaguered special teams.
Worst franchise career high: The Panthers’ defense gave up 495 yards, most in the team’s 17-year history.
Best former Panther: Chris Harris, who used to start at safety for Carolina, grabbed one of Newton’s four interceptions.
Worst road warriors: The Panthers have now lost a franchise-record 12 straight games on the road. Their last win came on Dec.27, 2009, when they thumped the New York Giants, 41-9.
Best diversionary tactics: Detroit quarterback Matthew Stafford threw five touchdown passes, and not one of them was to Calvin Johnson. As the Panthers looked for Johnson time and again near the end zone, Stafford simply hit the open receiver, over and over. And there was always someone open.
Best Panther unit: For once, you have to hand it to the special teams. They actually outplayed the Lions’ special teams this time. Olindo Mare had two field goals and four touchbacks. Pilares had his 101-yard return. Armanti Edwards had a couple of decent punt returns and the Panthers allowed only one big return for Detroit (a 31-yarder when you added the return and the penalty yardage for a horse-collar tackle).
Best Newton stat: Even on a four-interception day, Newton did a few spectacular things as usual. This time he scored two rushing touchdowns, setting the NFL rookie record for a quarterback with nine on the season.
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