Those madcap Panthers jump out to a 7-0 lead

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It only took about 35 games or so, but Panthers coach Ron Rivera has finally decided to let his hair down.

The Panthers just jumped out to a 7-0 lead over the Vikings, converting a pair of fourth-and-1s during a 9:29 drive. That’s against trend for Rivera, who started calling a more aggressive style lately.

Extending the 15-play 62-yard drive was thanks to Rivera letting fullback Mike Tolbert do what fullbacks do, as Tolbert nearly broke a touchdown run in the process of converting a first down.

The second one was from the 2-yard line, and Cam Newton hit Steve Smith for the score. Smith dropped a touchdown pass in last week’s loss at Arizona.