John Kasay just gave Carolina a 13-10 lead early in the third quarter with a 55-yard field goal, inspiring the crowd that is enjoying the Panthers at least being in the game in the second half.
The Panthers' modest drive of 20 yards was just enough to get Kasay in range after Carolina had started in great position due to a good defensive series.
And big news for the 49ers: QB Alex Smith is out for the rest of the game due to a shoulder sprain. If the 49ers are going to come back to win this one, it will be former Panther David Carr who will lead them.
On the drive, Steve Smith suffered leg cramps on an overthrown pass into the end zone. Smith stayed down for awhile, got up with help and hasn't returned. He is questionable for the rest of the game, and Captain Munnerlyn has re-assumed his punt return duties.
UPDATE: Smith has returned to the game, but the Panthers probably wish he hadn't (at least for this one series). After a couple of nice plays from Matt Moore got Carolina to first-and-10 at the San Fran 38, Smith picked up an unnecessary roughness penalty to move Carolina way back. On third-and-23, Smith caught a short pass, fought for extra yardage.... and fumbled.
San Francisco recovered at its own 40, but still is down by 3 late in the third quarter.