Panthers make big plays on defense, lead Falcons at halftime

AP

The Panthers have been able to rely on one of the league’s best defenses, and they’re making enough plays to take the lead on a day when their offense was slow to start.

The Panthers are up 14-10 on the Falcons at halftime, with Cam Newton diving over the top for a touchdown, the second time they took advantage of a turnover by the Falcons.

They followed a fourth-down stop with a touchdown drive, taking the early momentum away from the Falcons.

Cam Newton’s option toss to Christian McCaffrey was a nifty end to the drive, but they’ve had issues moving the ball early on which made the defensive stop crucial.

But the way they stood the Falcons up in short yardage (combined with a costly penalty on Falcons tight end Austin Hooper which gave them good field position), was followed by a rare turnover, as safety Mike Adams came up with an interception for the second game in a row.

Quarterback Cam Newton took matters into his own hands after that, leaping over the Falcons defense for a touchdown. Since they can’t do the conventionally easy stuff (Jonathan Stewart has two fumbles already), the Panthers might as well just let Cam be Cam and run, since he creates opportunities such as the pitch to McCaffrey.