CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Bryce Young completed 7 of 12 passes for 73 yards and a touchdown in his final tuneup before the regular season, and the Carolina Panthers lost 26-17 to the Detroit Lions on Friday night.
The No. 1 pick in the NFL draft looked sharp leading scoring drives on his only two possessions, the second culminating in his first TD pass — a 16-yard strike to veteran wide receiver Adam Thielen for a 10-0 lead. The heady 22-year-old rookie from Alabama also showed outstanding pocket awareness, scrambling three times for 21 yards and two first downs.
Young led a 14-play, 52-yard drive to open the game, resulting in a 41-yard field goal by Eddy Pineiro. A pass interference penalty on the Lions extended Carolina’s second drive. Young took advantage when he found Thielen, who beat third-string nickelback Will Harris near the left sideline for the score.
Thielen finished with four catches for 48 yards after shaking off an early back injury.
The Lions rested starting quarterback Jared Goff.
Teddy Bridgewater played the entire first half and led four scoring drives for Detroit (2-1). He finished 13 of 22 for 178 yards, including a 70-yard catch-and-run touchdown pass to rookie Antoine Green in the closing seconds of the first half.
Green, the team’s seventh-round pick from North Carolina, finished with three catches for 97 yards.
Craig Reynolds ran for 41 yards and a 5-yard touchdown as the Lions built a 20-10 halftime lead. Rookie cornerback Steven Gilmore returned a Jake Luton interception for a touchdown with 3:01 left to seal the win.
Andy Dalton made his preseason debut for the Panthers (0-3) after being sidelined with a back injury. He finished 6 of 11 for 60 yards and an interception in the end zone.
Panthers running back Miles Sanders missed his third straight preseason game while recovering from a groin injury, but is expected to be ready for Week 1. … The announced “feels like” temperature for the game at kickoff was 104 degrees. … The Panthers and Lions meet again Oct. 8 in Detroit.
Lions backup quarterback Nate Sudfield suffered an apparent lower-body injury when he was shoved out of bounds in the third quarter while rolling out of the pocket on a third-down pass play. He slowly walked off the field after the play, then was carted to the locker room. The specific nature of the injury is unclear.
Lions: Open regular season at Kansas City on Sept. 7.
Panthers: Open regular season at Atlanta on Sept 10.