Panthers lead Dolphins 17-7 at half

AP

The Dolphins had a chance to go into the locker room down only three points, but why do that? Instead Jay Cutler threw an interception with 41 seconds left in the half, and tight end Julius Thomas made it worse with a 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty.

The Panthers used the gift to get a third-down, 7-yard touchdown pass from Cam Newton to tight end Ed Dickson. It completed a four-play, 20-yard drive and gave Carolina a 17-7 halftime lead.

Miami put together a nice drive late in the second quarter to draw within three. Cutler completed 5-of-7 passes for 54 yards on the drive, including a 2-yard shovel pass to Thomas for the touchdown.

The Dolphins remain the only team without a rushing touchdown this season.

Apparently, that drive gave Miami confidence to try to tie it before halftime. The Dolphins got the ball back at their own 20 with 47 seconds left in the second quarter, and Cutler promptly threw a pick to linebacker Luke Kuechly to set up Carolina for its late first-half touchdown.

Carolina’s other points came on a 40-yard Graham Gano field goal and a 4-yard touchdown run by Christian McCaffrey on a zone read.

The Dolphins have only 118 yards as Culter has completed 10 of 19 passes for 91 yards with a touchdown and an interception. Newton went 14-for-25 for 145 yards with a touchdown. Panthers running back Jonathan Stewart has run for 48 yards on only seven carries.