The Lions answered the Panthers touchdown at the end of the first quarter in a flash in the second quarter, but gave those points (and more) back just as quickly.
Kevin Smith took the first carry of the second quarter 43 yards to the Carolina 28 yard line. On the very next play, Smith caught a screen pass and took it the distance for a touchdown to put the Lions back within three.
Unfortunately, on the ensuing kickoff, Kealoha Pilares broke loose to the house for a 102 yard kickoff return touchdown.
After the Lions went three-and-out (with some penalties mixed in), Detroit bailed out Carolina on a fourth-and-four with an illegal use of hands penalty on the punt return. The penalty was clearly demoralizing for the Lions defense, as the Panthers then picked up 37 yards and a Cam Newton touchdown on the next two plays.
The Lions finally put together a good, comfortable drive on their next possession, taking over 10 plays to march into the end zone and cut the score back to 10. Matthew Stafford capped off the 80 yard drive with a quick three yard strike to rookie wide receiver Titus Young. Stafford was 8-for-9 passing for 69 yards on the drive.
On the next possession, Carolina once again took advantage of a penalty by the Lions when the Panthers would've given the ball back. A couple plays after the Lions penalty on a third down incompletion, Cam Newton completed a pass to Steve Smith for 20 yards to put the Panthers into field goal range for Mare. Mare added to the lead with a 31 yard field goal as time just about expired in the half.
After throwing two picks on his first eight pass attempts, Stafford has completed 10 of his last 11. He is 15-for-21 with 170 yards, two touchdowns, and two interceptions. Kevin Smith has 100 all-purpose yards. The Lions defense has allowed 79 yards rushing on just 11 attempts.