Arizona Cardinals create turnovers, 14-13 halftime lead


Mistakes hurt the Carolina Panthers in the second quarter in all phases of the game

The Arizona Cardinals have somehow found themselves with a lead at halftime.  You can thank the Carolina Panthers mistakes. Those mistakes have given the Cardinals a 14-13 lead.

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Start with the offense.  The Carolina offense.  After running the ball well in the first quarter en route to a 10-0 lead, the Panthers started facing the rush.  Carolina quarterback Cam Newton was throwing off his back feet.  He was rushed especially at the end of the half.  He also threw an interception to Cardinals quarterback Antonio Cromartie.  Only Newton’s speed in catching Cromartie kept him out of the end zone for a pick-six.  The Cardinals ended up scoring a few plays later.

Special teams not so special for the Panthers.  A muffed punt at the end of the first quarter led to a Cardinals touchdown from quarterback Ryan Lindley to tight end Darren Fells at the beginning of the second quarter to bring the Cards to within 10-7 at the time.

The Cardinals second touchdown after the interception was a run by Marion Grice.  He fumbled the ball but only after he broke the plane of the goal line.  It was reviewed after originally called a turnover.  It gave the Cardinals a 14-10 lead at the time.

The Panthers were able to hit a field goal right before halftime to bring the score to 14-13.  Kicker Graham Gano did miss a 43-yarder earlier in the quarter.  They can’t afford missed kicks, neither team can for that matter, in such a tight game.

I’ve seen people call this an ugly game, not fun to watch.  Ok then, don’t watch.  Cardinals fans are having fun so far albeit sitting on the edge of our seats on every play.  The Cardinals haven’t generated much offense but they haven’t had to…so far.  They will need to offense to move the ball a bit in the second half if they want to keep the lead and go home victorious.

Carolina will start the second half with the ball, that’s why the field goal was so big for them at the end of the first half.  The Cardinals need to set the tone and shut Cam Newton and company down quickly but a lot of missed tackles by the Cardinals.  They won’t stop anyone missing tackles and Carolina’s rushing attack will make you pay with missed tackles.  We saw that already with the Jonathan Stewart touchdown run in the first quarter.