Cincinnati has an early 7-0 lead in soggy Bank of America Stadium.
Panthers quarterback Jimmy Clausen, in the meantime, has yet to throw his first pass of the game.
The Bengals took their third possession on a 53-yard drive culminated by Cedric Benson's 1-yard run. The drive was helped considerably by two officials' calls that went against Carolina.
First, on a critical pass to Terrell Owens, the Panthers thought they had gotten Owens to fumble the ball after catching it. However, officials ruled his forward progress had been stopped -- which looked iffy on the replays. John Fox threw his challenge flag but to no avail, because you can't challenge forward progress.
Then, on a key third-down play, the Panthers' Jordan Pugh was called for pass interference in the end zone against Cincinnati's Andre Caldwell. That placed the ball at the 1, and Benson scored on the next play on a sweep to the left.
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