The Carolina defense has gotten the better of the matchup with the New England offense and the Panthers lead, 10-3, at halftime of Monday Night Football.
The Panthers took a 7-0 lead late in the first quarter when Cam Newton capped off a 90-yard drive with a 9-yard touchdown pass to Brandon LaFell. Carolina added to its lead with a field goal in the second quarter, but the story of the first half was the Panthers' defense.
Carolina's stout defense had the upper hand early on against New England. The Panthers harassed Tom Brady, including a pair of sacks, and forced a key turnover to keep the Patriots off the scoreboard. Brady has been able to find his receivers, and completed 14-of-17 passes in the first half, but was limited to mostly short passes. The Patriots had success moving the ball, but Carolina stiffened once New England crossed midfield. New England was able to add a field goal late in the second quarter to get on the board.
The low-scoring first half wasn't without fireworks, however. They just didn't come from explosive offensive plays. Carolina wide receiver Steve Smith and New England cornerback Aqib Talib went back and forth, including some extracurricular activity after the whistle.
The Patriots will receive the kickoff to open the second half.