Panthers vs. Cardinals: Halftime Notes

After jumping out to a ten point lead, the Carolina Panthers made costly mistakes in the second half. The Arizona Cardinals capitalized and took a 14-13 lead into halftime.’s Brandon Croce provides some notes and observations from the first half.

  • It may be due to the wet weather but Cam Newton has been wildly inaccurate through the first half. The Panthers quarterback is 12 of 21 for 103 yards with one interception in the second quarter. Cardinals’ Antonio Cromartie capitalized on miscommunication between Newton and Jerricho Cotchery and returned the pick 50 yards. It set the Cardinals up for their second touchdown of the game.
  • The Panthers run game has been exceptional in the first half and the coaching staff should lean heavily on this part of the offense in the second half. The Panthers ran for 105 yards in that half with Jonathan Stewart running for 70 of those yards.
  • One of the big reasons for their success on the ground has been due to the Panthers’ offensive line that is playing very well at the line of scrimmage. They have done a good job of not only run blocking but also keeping Newton up right in the pocket, not giving up a sack yet this game.
  • The Panthers special teams unit has made plenty of mistakes of their own in the first half. It started towards the end of the first quarter when Brenton Bersin fumbled a punt return that was recovered by Arizona. The Cardinals scored their first touchdown after this turnover to cut the lead to 10-7. Then the very next drive, Carolina drove the length of the field but Graham Gano missed a field goal wide left.
  • The Panthers defense has had a strong first half even though they have continually been put in a bad position because of turnovers. The Cardinals did score 14 points but both touchdowns came off turnovers. The Cardinals only have a total of 65 yards on 29 plays (2.2 yards per play). The Panthers were able to force four three-and-outs in the first half alone.
  • Unfortunately the score doesn’t show it but the Panthers have been in control for most of this game and have looked like the better team. However, the turnovers have been the great equalizer and is the reason the Cardinals have the lead. If Carolina can protect the ball in the second half and eliminate mistakes, they have to feel good about their chances in this game.

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