Live updates recap: Lions boosted by bubble players, close preseason with 26-17 win

FINAL: Detroit Lions 26, Carolina Panthers 17

Observations: Lions flex depth in win against Panthers in preseason finale

Fourth quarter

3:01 -- Carolina Panthers drive starts on own 25

Jake Luton finally gets a little something going, with a 15-yard completion to Ricci before the two-minute warning. Luton keeping it rolling, with a nice fade ball to Peoples at the pylon. Play is under review. Looks to be some bobbling.

Ruled a fumble out of bounds, and that will do it. Lions kneel out the clock.

4:00 -- Carolina Panthers drive starts on own 15

Christian Covington gets in on the beat up QB4 party with a sack on first down. Steven Gilmore is there in coverage, go figure, and it’s third-and-21 in a hurry. Speaking of Gilmore, he puts his stamp on the past month with a pick-six interception. Nice read. Nice job to look upfield and take it in for six. Riley Patterson misses the extra point. Lions 26, Panthers 17

5:02 -- Detroit Lions drive starts on own 32

The parade of incomplete passes from both sides continues. Third-and-2 -- Martinez rolls out into nothing again. Still more than four minutes left.

6:23 -- Carolina Panthers drive starts on own 32

Jake Luton has entered the game at quarterback. And another three-and-out as Detroit’s defense keep it sticky. James Houston with another sack, with Cory Durden getting credit for the share.

7:25 -- Detroit Lions drive starts on own 16

Two incomplete passes, with a 6-yard run by Benny Snell equals a three-and-out to keep this second half of football on the ugly side.

12:02 -- Carolina Panthers drive starts on own 7

Spencer Brown gets another look. The rookie has 42 yards and one touchdown on 10 rush attempts tonight. Corral is faced with a third-and-1 deep in his own territory, though -- Brown gets it again and converts. Nowaske sack/offensive holding makes it second-and-10, and Corral gets 10 yards back on the pass to Jennings. It’s third-and-10, with less than 10 minutes left in the 20-17 game -- nice play on the ball by Colby Richardson to get the offense off the field.

13:45 -- Detroit Lions drive starts on own 45

It’s third-and-5 after a run for nothing and a short look from Martinez to Trinity Benson. An incomplete pass for Helm, and punter Jack Fox is staring down another shot to pin the Panthers inside their 10-yard line.

14:48 -- Carolina Panthers drive starts on own 20

Quick three-and-out for the Panthers. Pass defense staying sticky.

Lions open third-and-11 on Carolina’s 39

Martinez incomplete for Maurice Alexander.

Third quarter

4:00 -- Detroit Lions drive starts on own 25

Adrian Martinez scrambles for the first down on third-and-2. And Benny Snell Jr. is getting some looks here in the second half, taking the toss 8 yards.

7:03 -- Carolina Panthers drive starts on own 40

Camerun Peoples gets another carry after losing the fumble on his first attempt. Nice 27-yard run by Matt Corral to move the chains on third down. It’s first-and-goal at the 4-yard line after Corral hits Ricci for 17 yards, with Khalil Dorsey hurt on the play. Brown punches it into the end zone on the next snap. Nice drive by Corral, showing his speed and ability with the chance. Lions 20, Panthers 17

10:40 -- Detroit Lions drive starts on own 7

Adrian Martinez has entered the game, and he’s already scrambling. Third-and-6, Martinez keeps the play alive, eventually trotting out of bounds for nothing.

12:50 -- Carolina Panthers drive starts on own 20

Matt Corral in at quarterback. Isaiah Buggs hurt on the stop, and that’s not what you want to see. Buggs standing on the sideline, and looks OK. First-down run by Spencer Brown keeps the drive alive on third-and-1. Steven Gilmore seems to be near just about every play. Another pass deflection to make it third-and-10. Tommy Tremble open, but Corral fires it past him.

15:00 -- Detroit Lions drive starts on own 25

Nate Sudfeld gets the nod. And he hits Chase Cota out of the gates for a short gain. This is the most impressive I’ve seen Antoine Green play since he landed in Detroit. Nice route and awareness for the back-shoulder catch to move the chains. Sudfeld looking crisp to open here. Loss of 3 yards on the run, and a drop by Daniel Helm makes it third-and-13. Sudfeld chased out of the pocket, gets ride of the ball, and is a little shaken up as he gets helped off the field.


HALFTIME: Detroit Lions 20, Carolina Panthers 10

Second quarter

:20 -- Detroit Lions drive starts on Carolina’s 27

Bridgewater back to Antoine Green for a first down. Nice back-to-back plays between that duo. The Lions can’t punch it in before setting for another short field goal. Riley Patterson is good. Lions 20, Panthers 10

:30 -- Carolina Panthers drive starts on own 25

Brady Breeze recovers the fumble on the first snap. Carolina’s reserves in meltdown mode. Khalil Dorsey forced the fumble, getting low and popping it out from the rookie running back.

:48 -- Detroit Lions drive starts on own 20

Teddy Bridgewater hits rookie Antoine Green for the 70-yard touchdown catch. Green has been pretty quiet through camp, so that’s a nice look for someone making a push for one of those final roster spots. And great look by Bridgewater. Lions 17, Panthers 10

2:31 -- Carolina Panthers drive starts on own 36

Two-minute warning -- First-and-10 near midfield for Dalton and the Panthers. Dalton to rookie running back Spencer Brown for 9 yards. And the Panthers go no huddle, with another look for Brown in the flats. Flags are down, with Trevor Nowaske caught holding.

Tommy Tremble breaks through the defense, and the Panthers are looking good in the no-huddle offense. Dalton hit the tight end for 21 yards. Browns takes a short carry, with the Lions calling timeout with a little more than a minute left in the first half. Second-and-7 at Detroit’s 14-yard line -- Ian Thomas can’t make the leaping grab in the end zone with Nowaske tight in face coverage. And Chase Lucas puts the end to this drive with a diving interception in the end zone. Great play by someone who needs every push he can get.

5:15 -- Detroit Lions drive starts on own 7

Just nothing going for the Lions and Bridgewater on this series. Dylan Drummond caught two looks for 10 yards, but there just wasn’t much going.

7:36 -- Carolina Panthers drive starts on own 24

It’s been ugly offensive work for a minute now. Levi Onwuzurike with a great read to beat the tight end screen on first-and-10. Onwuzurike tackle for loss takes away 4 yards. But Dalton completes a pass over the middle near midfield for the first down. Dalton saw Jennings beat Steven Gilmore over the middle and threw it in there for 20 yards.

Third-and-10 at the 40-yard line -- Dalton lofts one short, with Chase Lucas and Tracy Walker in coverage. James Houston with another pressure, draws offensive holding in the process.

11:05 -- Detroit Lions drive starts on own 35

Teddy Bridgewater still out there. And he opens the drive missing Chase Cota out wide. It’s third-and-6 after a short look for Trinity Benson from No. 17 -- Cota draws pass interference by C.J. Henderson downfield. That’ll make it first-and-goal for the Lions. Henderson all over the undrafted receiver, with a hand holding the back of his jersey. Easy call. More Craig Reynolds, and the Lions have it at the 1-yard line. The drive sputters, though, and Cota can’t handle another touchdown on third-and-goal. The Lions will go for it on fourth-and-goal from the 1-yard line, though -- Germain Ifedi jumps offsides. Riley Patterson makes the short kick. Lions 10, Panthers 10

12:23 -- Carolina Panthers drive starts on own 20

Andy Dalton in at quarterback. Steven Gilmore takes advantage of the high pass and lunging receiver for the big hit at the line. Gilmore had an interception last week, and is someone to watch in these final days ahead of cuts. Third-and-short after two plays -- Ian Thomas drops the pass and that’s a three-and-out.

Lions open third-and-3 on Carolina’s 24

Craig Reynolds moves the chains with a 4-yard rush. Another nice look for the man formerly known as “Netflix,” with a 10-yard run around the edge. Second-and-goal after Bridgewater scrambles and throws the ball away. Reynolds powers through on third-and-goal for the touchdown. Sneaky call from Ben Johnson there, with Reynolds following his blockers for the clean touchdown. Panthers 10, Lions 7

First quarter

2:17 -- Detroit Lions drive starts on own 34

Teddy Bridgewater with a quick-fire completion to Trinity Benson for 5 yards. Chase Cota keeps on making plays, with 20 yards off the play-action post from Bridgewater. Expect to see Cota on the right side of my roster projection tomorrow morning. First-and-10 for the Lions at Carolina’s 31-yard line -- Craig Reynolds with another look, taking this one for maybe 2 yards.

6:22 -- Carolina Panthers drive starts on own 43

Bryce Young getting another series. And he finds Adam Thielen downfield in a hurry for 22 yards. Thielen lost Steven Gilmore in coverage over the middle, nice delayed route to get open for his quarterback. Third-and-9, Young makes a nice read and takes off up the middle for an easy first down to the 22-yard line. Panthers have dominated the time of possession in this first quarter. Another third-down opportunity for the defensive after Malcolm Rodriguez gobbles a run attempt up in a hurry.

Third-and-4 at Detroit’s 16-yard line -- welp, beautiful corner route to the pylon for the 16-yard touchdown pass to Thielein. Clean pocket. Will Harris in coverage. First touchdown for Young under center comes against the Lions, with Matt Ryan on the call, and that’ll probably be it for the prized rookie quarterback. Young was crisp with the clean pocket. And Thielen made easy work of Harris, Gilmore and Thomas through those first two drives. Panthers 10, Lions 0

8:01 -- Detroit Lions drive starts on Carolina’s 47

Defensive back Khalil Dorsey with the 62-yard kick return out of nowhere. Teddy Bridgewater and his new number (17) get the start under center. James Mitchell called for holding, then gets the look from Bridgewater for 7 yards to make it second-and-13. Bridgewater incomplete after getting chased out of the pocket. Third-and-13 on Carolina’s side of the ball -- screen is complete to Craig Reynolds. But the running back doesn’t get much back, with the field-goal unit coming out for the long attempt. Riley Patterson from 53 yards is no good. Short.

15:00 -- Carolina Panthers drive starts on own 25

Enjoy the brief look at top pick Bryce Young. The Panthers will get their prized rookie quarterback some reps in the exhibition finale, while the Lions rest the majority of their starters and key players. Young to second-round rookie wideout Jonathan Mingo for 13 yards gets this game started. Mingo was an easy-to-love draft prospect, and there’s a taste of the why. Young hits another pass, this one to Adam Thielen, with Starling Thomas on the stop.

Jack Campbell is out there, so are James Houston and Levi Onwuzurike. The latter had a nice pressure on the completion to Thielen, while Campbell was there to stop Young on the scramble (after making Houston whiff). Third-and-2 -- Young wiggles out of the pocket and moves the chains with ease. The Panthers aren’t pushing the issue too much. But the rookie quarterback looks comfortable in the pocket and when things don’t develop through these first couple of snaps. Tracy Walker there on the stop after Thielen moves the chains, and the veteran wideout is down on the ground in some pain. He tried to get up, then rolled back to the turf. Second-and-2, eighth play of this drive, and the Panthers have another new set of downs after the short gain on the ground by Raheem Blackshear. Third-and-10 after a pair of errant throws by the rookie, gifting the Lions with a chance to hold Carolina’s offense to a field-goal attempt on this lengthy series. Incomplete. But Starling Thomas called for defensive pass interference -- all over No. 83 -- for the automatic first down.

The Lions hold, with Romeo Okwara and James Houston notching a key sack to push the Panthers back. Young opened by hitting his first four passes. But the drive came to a halt with four straight incompletions. Panthers 3, Lions 0


Panthers will open with the ball

Matt Ryan joining Tiki Barber on the call, for those feeling old before this game starts

Teddy Bridgewater is No. 50 no more, with the Detroit Lions reporting that the veteran quarterback will debut No. 17 in tonight’s preseason finale


The Detroit Lions are on the road to close out their exhibition slate against the Carolina Panthers under the lights at Bank of America Stadium.

Don’t expect much from the starters, once again. But there are roster spots and jobs still up for grabs on Friday night, with one last chance to make some noise in game-like situations.

This post will update with drive summaries, analysis, injury updates, photos, pregame updates and more. Hit refresh to keep up and follow MLive’s Detroit Lions reporters on X (?) @BenjaminSRaven, @KoryEWoods and @kmeinke.

Head to MLive’s Facebook account immediately after the game for an in-depth video breakdown from Raven, and to for more out of the game and ahead of cut day. Also, make sure to check out MLive’s new Subtext service, which allows you to directly text with MLive’s Lions beat writers and receive individual replies to questions and submit future mailbag questions.

Related: 8 bubble players to watch in Lions’ preseason finale

Related: How to watch Lions at Panthers preseason finale (8/25/2023): Free stream, TV channel, kickoff time


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