Derick E. Hingle/USA TODAY

Carolina Panthers Trail 16-13 to the New Orleans Saints at Halftime

The Carolina Panthers have struggled in the first half with three turnovers and trail the New Orleans Saints 16-13.

  • The Carolina Panthers did not expect to start their game against the New Orleans Saints the way they did, especially considering the fact that they found out minutes before the game that they had secured their third straight NFC South division title. The Panthers fell behind 14-0 and gave up two turnovers, an area they have been excellent in this year. After Drew Brees threw a touchdown pass to Benjamin WatsonCam Newton threw an interception but the Saints were not able to capitalize due to a missed field goal. However, on the next drive Jonathan Stewart fumbled the ball which was returned for a touchdown by Stephone Anthony.
  • The second quarter looked like it was going to be better as Newton threw a touchdown to Mike Tolbert on the first play of the quarter. After forcing a stop on the Saints' next drive, the Panthers were once again driving. However, tight end Greg Olsen fumbled the ball and the Saints stopped the Panthers' chance at points.
  • Jonathan Stewart has probably played the best in the first half on the Panthers' offense, even though he did have the fumble. He has been running hard with 60 rushing yards on 11 carries and a rushing touchdown in the final two minutes of the first half.
  • The Panthers' mistakes weren't just limited to the offense as Graham Gano had an extra point blocked that would have tied up the game at 14. Instead the blocked kick was returned by Saints' linebacker Stephone Anthony for two points, which is the first time this has happened since the NFL rule change moving the kick back.
  • While this has been one of the ugliest halves the Panthers have played this year, they are still only down a field goal and will be receiving the ball first to start the second half. The most important thing the Panthers will need to do is correct the mistakes they are making. While the Saints have played well, the reason they are leading is because they have capitalized on the Panthers' turnovers. If they are able to get back to playing their style of football, they should be able to grab the lead in the second half and keep their undefeated streak going for at least one more week.

Twitter @BrandonCroce.

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