Walker wins first NFL start as Panthers blank Lions 20-0

Walker wins first NFL start as Panthers blank Lions 20-0
Carolina Panthers wide receiver Curtis Samuel, left, celebrates after scoring with Michael Schofield and Taylor Moton during the second half of an NFL football game against the Detroit Lions Sunday, Nov. 22, 2020, in Charlotte, N.C. (Source: AP Photo/Brian Blanco)

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — P.J. Walker threw for 258 yards and a touchdown in his first NFL start, the much-maligned Carolina defense earned its first shutout since 2015 and the Panthers defeated the Detroit Lions 20-0 on Sunday to snap a five-game losing streak.

Walker, a former XFL player, was made the starter less than two hours before kickoff when Teddy Bridgewater was officially ruled out with a knee injury.

Walker did plenty well, connecting on a perfect 52-yard strike to D.J. Moore along with a well-placed 17-yard touchdown pass to Curtis Samuel. But he also had two terrible mistakes, twice throwing interceptions in the red zone, essentially hitting the defender right in the hands.

Still he did enough to win, as Moore had seven catches for 127 yards and Samuel had eight grabs for 70 yards. Mike Davis ran for 64 yards and a touchdown.

Matthew Stafford, who played despite a thumb injury that prevented him from taking a snap under center all week in practice, finished 18 of 33 for 178 yards. He was sacked five times as the Lions were blanked for the first time since Oct. 18, 2009, his rookie season — although he didn’t play in that game.

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