A physical tone has been set early in Charlotte, with three players taken off the field with injuries on the first possession.
And the 49ers started things the way you’d expect, by not getting into the end zone. They settled for a 49-yard Phil Dawson field goal to end a 13-play drive that took nearly six minutes off the clock, for a 3-0 lead on the Panthers.
There have also been a few briefs skirmishes, as both teams try to establish themselves as the more aggressive.
The Panthers wasted a third-down stop with a late hit by safety Mike Mitchell, getting the 49ers into range for the field goal and the early lead.