Well, that was ugly.
The Cincinnati Bengals scored the last 24 points of the first half and have taken a commanding 24-7 lead over the Carolina Panthers at halftime.
After Cam Newton's 16-yard touchdown run to begin the scoring, it has been all Cincinnati. The half has borne much resemblance to the first half a week ago in Miami, when Carolina trailed 17-0 at halftime after allowing a staggering 301 yards. This time, Cincinnati has 269 (compared to Carolina's 111).
Cincinnati's Mike Nugent hit a 55-yard field goal just before the end of the first half to account for the final points.
Newton is only 3-for-12 passing and has thrown a number of balls at very well-covered receivers or else inaccurately at receivers who were slightly open. However, he did have a gem of a TD run and also a 26-yard scramble that was one tackle away from going another 20-30 yards.
The Panthers' main problem: run defense. They have allowed the Bengals to run roughshod over the middle of the defensive line, as Cedric Benson and Bernard Scott have both scored a touchdown apiece and rushed for more than 60 yards each for the Bengals. The third TD score was on Andy Dalton's 40-yard TD pass to A.J. Green.
Dalton, another rookie, has been much more impressive throwing the ball so far than Newton, who is slated to play one more quarter.