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Carolina Panthers Hold a 23-3 Lead at Halftime over the Dallas Cowboys

The Carolina Panthers' offense has struggled to put points up on the board but was able to go to halftime with a 23-3 lead over the Dallas Cowboys thanks to two interceptions returned for touchdowns by Kurt Coleman and Luke Kuechly.

*The Carolina Panthers, and specifically Kurt Coleman, wasted little time starting the scoring as Coleman intercepted Tony Romo and returned it for a touchdown. This is now the third straight game that Coleman has had an interception and is his fifth on the year. The Panthers' safety is also now tied for the league lead in interceptions with three other players.

*The defense wasn't done scoring though as middle linebacker Luke Kuechly was able to intercept a pass from Romo in the final three minutes of the half and return it for a touchdown. This was Kuechly's first touchdown as a Panther and he wasn't done there. On the very next play, Kuechly intercepted Romo again for his first career game with two interceptions.

*While Josh Norman did give up a first down reception to Cole Beasley, he has done an excellent job of keeping Dez Bryant out of the end zone and off the stat sheet, he has zero receptions on four targets. This was a marquee matchup entering this game as Bryant and Norman are two of the best at their respective positions. Right now, Norman is winning this battle but I would expect the Cowboys will try and make adjustments at halftime to find a way to get Bryant involved.

*Another storyline entering this game was Greg Hardy facing his former team and if Michael Oher can keep him away from Cam Newton. Well through two quarters of play, Hardy has yet to register a sack but he has gotten close a couple of time. The Panthers' offensive line as a whole has done a good job of keeping Newton clean in the pocket and allow him to make plays.

*Points have not been as easy to come by today as they did last week when Newton threw four touchdowns in the first half. However, Newton once again is having a very effective game by moving the ball down the field, through the air and on the ground. He has been able to move the ball around, which is due in part to the offensive line giving him time, and has completed passes to five different players.

*If there is one criticism from the first half is that the Panthers can't keep settling for field goals. The Panthers were not able to score an offensive touchdown and settled for three Graham Gano field goals. The fact that they have the big lead and are running pretty well (averaging 4.6 yards per carry), I would expect to see Jonathan Stewart and Mike Tolbert to get plenty of carries in the second half.

Twitter @BrandonCroce.

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