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Sunday, December 1, 2013
Halftime report: Panthers 17, Buccaneers 6

By David Newton

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- An examination of three issues in the first half as the Carolina Panthers lead the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 17-6:

Fast start: Quarterback Cam Newton said the goal this week was to get off to a fast start. He almost single-handedly made sure that happened. After a Tampa field goal made it 3-0, Newton scrambled 59 yards to the Bucs' 15 and almost broke it all the way with a stiff-arm around the 20. After a 1-yard loss by Jonathan Stewart, Newton completed a 16-yard touchdown pass to Brandon LaFell to give Carolina a 7-3 lead.

Secondary issues: Coach Ron Rivera wasn't happy with the play of his secondary against Miami after two 50-plus-yard receptions. He didn't name his starters at cornerback until Sunday. He'll likely be unhappy at halftime as veteran Drayton Florence allowed a 60-yarder to the Carolina 4. A careless fumble by quarterback Mike Glennon recovered by the Panthers likely took some of the sting out of it.

Riverboat Ron: This seems like a weekly segment, mainly because Rivera takes a chance on fourth-and-1 almost every game now. Newton rewarded his coach's confidence with a 1-yard touchdown run with 25 seconds left in the half to make it 17-6. Carolina is now 8-for-10 on fourth down, 7-for-9 on fourth-and-1.