Panthers control the clock in first half, lead 17-13 at halftime

USA TODAY Sports

The Panthers have yet to force a Chiefs’ punt, with Kansas City getting points on three of four first-half possessions. Yet, Carolina leads 17-13.

The Panthers did hold the Chiefs to two field goals of 39 and 55 yards by Harrison Butker. Demarcus Robinson scored Kansas City’s only touchdown with a 1-yard touchdown pass from Patrick Mahomes.

Carolina has controlled the ball and the clock, keeping possession for 19:23 of the first 30 minutes.

Carolina scored on fourth down on its first drive and used a fake punt on fourth down on its second for its two touchdowns. Christian McCaffrey, playing for the first time since Week 2 when he sprained his ankle, scored a 9-yard touchdown on a pass from Teddy Bridgewater on the Panthers’ first drive.

On the Panthers’ second drive, punter Joseph Charlton threw a perfect pass to Brandon Zylstra, who went 28 yards to the Kansas City 27. Three plays later, Bridgewater hit Curtis Samuel for a 14-yard score.

The Panthers’ only punt came after Samuel was called for offensive pass interference on a terrible third down call by officials. Replays showed Chiefs linebacker Anthony Hitchens take out Samuels, yet draw a flag on Samuels, negating a DJ Moore reception for a first down.

McCaffrey had 14 touches on Carolina’s 36 first-half plays. He had nine carries for 48 yards and five receptions for 43 yards and the score. Bridgewater is 17-of-23 for 123 yards and two touchdowns.

Mahomes is 17-of-26 for 196 yards and the one touchdown. Tyreek Hill has six catches for 57 yards, and Travis Kelce has added five receptions for 56 yards.

The Chiefs ran out of time on their final possession, the only one of four possessions they didn’t score.