The Panthers looked like they had a chance to cut a little further into Atlanta's lead just now until a big mistake by Muhsin Muhammad.
Carolina had a third-and-6 at the Atlanta 35 with 46 seconds to play before halftime -- plenty of time to do something. Even a Delhomme incompletion would have probably sent out John Kasay for a 52-yard field goal. And indoors from 52, I'd figure Kasay could make it 70 percent of the time.
But then Muhsin Muhammad looked like a rookie. With the Georgia Dome roaring, he left on the wrong snap count and was 5 yards down the field while no one else was moving. Delhomme threw his head up in frustration as the Panthers then had third-and-11 from the 40 (and had 10 seconds run off the clock to boot -- that happens on an offensive penalty inside 2 minutes).
So then Delhomme needed to take a deeper drop, because he needed a longer completion, and instead he was bludgeoned by Atlanta DE John Abraham for a sack.
So your halftime score remains:
Atlanta 17, Carolina 3.
What must Carolina do in the second half? The defense has actually looked OK on the last couple of Falcons drives, but it gave up that quick 17 early. Carolina probably needs at least one more big turnover because its offense looks so suspect to get back into this game.
And Steve Smith can't drop another ball -- he's already had a couple in this game.