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NFL: Carolina 20, Detroit 14

Dec. 21, 2003 at 4:27 PM

CHARLOTTE, N.C., Dec. 21 (UPI) -- Jake Delhomme completed 20 of his first 22 passes Sunday as the playoff-bound Carolina Panthers beat Detroit, 20-14.

It was the Lions' NFL record 24th straight road loss.

Delhomme finished 29-of-35 for 260 yards, throwing touchdown passes of 20 yards to Steve Smith and 10 yards to running back DeShaun Foster in the first half. For nearly three quarters, he threatened Vinny Testaverde's record for completion percentage in a game. Testaverde completed 91.3 percent of his passes (21-of-23) against the Los Angeles Rams on Dec. 26, 1993.

The Lions (4-11) broke the previous mark for consecutive road losses set by the Houston Oilers from 1981-84. Detroit finished 0-8 on the road for the third straight season. Its last win away from home came against the New York Jets on Dec. 17, 2000.

They made it close in the fourth quarter as Reggie Swinton returned a punt 89 yards with 12:02 remaining and rookie linebacker Boss Bailey returned a fumble 62 yards to make it 20-14 with 3:44 left.

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