The Panthers have been thoroughly outplayed in the first 30 minutes at Raymond James Stadium here and now trail Tampa Bay, 17-3.
Jake Delhomme has thrown a couple of interceptions -- although, to be fair, both of the passes were touched by Panther receivers first. The second one was a killer. Carolina was on a good drive inside the 2-minute mark when Delhomme tried to let Muhsin Muhammad win a jump ball deep against Tampa Bay corner Aqib Talib.
Moose couldn't quite do it, though, and the deflected ball was scooped up by Tampa Bay safety Jermaine Phillips, who returned it 58 yards. Carolina didn't allow any more points, but still trails 17-3 at halftime.
The good news for the Panthers: they came back from exactly the same deficit against Chicago earlier this season to win 20-17. And Steve Smith is having a fine day (5 catches, 93 yards in first half).
The bad news: This one is on the road, Tampa Bay seems more motivated than Chicago and the Panthers' mojo seems to have been lost somewhere on the flight over Florida. Carolina isn't able to run the ball at all so far -- 16 carries, 32 yards -- and that has contributed to a paltry offensive output of only 7 first downs and 3 points so far.
10 months ago