Halftime Digest: Panthers 17, Chiefs 3

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Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton proved a one-man band in the first half against the Chiefs, passing for 157 yards and a touchdown while adding another 43 yards and a touchdown on the ground in driving the Panthers to a 17-3 halftime lead.

Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton eludes pressure from Chiefs' Tamba Hali (91) and Rakeem Nunez-Roches (99) during the first half against the Kansas City Chiefs Nov. 13, 2016 (Photo courtesy Chiefs PR, Chiefs.com)

Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton eludes pressure from Chiefs’ Tamba Hali (91) and Rakeem Nunez-Roches (99) during the first half against the Kansas City Chiefs Nov. 13, 2016 (Photo courtesy Chiefs PR, Chiefs.com)

The Chiefs’ longest offensive play of the first half resulted from a 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct by Carolina linebacker Thomas Davis. He shoved running back Charcandrick West as he headed out of bounds after a short gain.

Kansas City mustered a 12-play, 46-yard drive within the last two minutes of the half to setup their only score, a 47-yard field by Cairo Santos.

Otherwise the first half belong entirely to Newton. The Carolina quarterback accounted for 200 of his team’s 228 offensive yards.

Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith 13-of-19 passing for 66 yards in the first half, the bulk of that production coming on the final drives of the half.

Spencer Ware rushed seven times for 33 yards, but left the game after appearing to hit his head while blocking on a pass play. Ware missed last week’s game against Jacksonville with a concussion. Ware appears available for the second half.

The Chiefs start the second half with the ball, and here’s what they need to accomplish to mount a comeback.

Move the ball

A total of 66 yards passing against the league’s 29th ranked pass defense is criminal. The fault doesn’t rest entirely with Smith, however. An under throw to Tyreek Hill on a deep route lead to an interception, but a handful of drops badly hurt the offense’s momentum. Chiefs need better pass protection and an en effective aerial attack to get back in this game.

Knock off the mistakes

The Chiefs own a winning formula based on winning the turnover battle and avoiding mistakes. They lost the battle on both fronts in the first half, posting the game’s only turnover and committing seven penalties for 35 yards, seemingly all coming in crucial moments.

Contain Newton

Newton served as the only offensive threat the Panthers have. Running back Jonathan Stewart found zero room to run the ball. The Chiefs did a good job getting pressure on Newton, but haven’t been able to get him on the ground and generate turnovers.

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Matt Derrick is the lead beat writer for ChiefsDigest.com and the Topeka Capital-Journal. Use the contact page to reach him or find him on Twitter: @MattDerrick.


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