Kealoha Pilares' record-setting 101-yard kickoff return highlighted a big second quarter for the Panthers, who built their biggest lead of the season and took a 27-14 lead into halftime.
Pilares' return was the Panthers' first kickoff return for a touchdown in eight years and was the team's longest, breaking the record shared by Rod Smart and Michael Bates, both of whom had 100 yards returns.
Pilares' longest return prior to his touchdown was 27 yards. But Ron Rivera stuck with the rookie from Hawaii. Pilares replaced Mike Goodson as the Panthers' kick returner in Week 5.
Cam Newton gave the Panthers a 24-7 lead – their largest of the season – with an 11-yard touchdown run with 9:32 remaining in the second quarter. DeAngelo Williams set up the score with a 26-yard run, and had 57 yards on five first-half carries.
It was Newton's eighth rushing touchdown of the season, breaking the rookie record held by Vince Young since 2006.
The Lions pulled within two scores when Matthew S...