Panthers Come Out On Fire, Lead Cardinals 24-7 At Half Of NFC Title Game

The Carolina Panthers have been a wrecking ball-like force en route to a 15-1 regular-season record and berth in tonight's NFC Championship Game. They've kept that momentum over the game's first 30 minutes, leading 24-7 over the Arizona Cardinals in Charlotte.

Arizona's offense did nothing of note over their first four drives, punting three times and losing a fumble. On the other side, the Panthers cashed in for 17 points on their first three possessions to jump out to a three-possession lead. More on this game in the Chat Sports iPhone and Android apps.

The first touchdown of the day came on Carolina's second drive, as Ted Ginn fooled EVERYONE on a 22-yard TD scamper off a reverse.

Following an Arizona punt, Cam Newton turned on the big play charm -- hitting WR Philly Brown for a scintillating 86-yard touchdown:

Arizona would finally stall Carolina's offense with a three-and-out on the Panthers' next touch before cutting the lead to 17-7 with a ten-play, 79-yard TD drive -- capped by a short TD run by rookie RB David Johnson.

However, all momentum would be thrown out the window with under five minutes to go in the first half after Cardinals CB Patrick Peterson muffed on an attempted punt return. Carolina would recover, cashing in on a short field to make it 24-7 with a one-yard TD run by Cam Newton. Get more from the game in our Chat Sports Android and iPhone apps.

It got weird from there, as a brutal Newton interception was returned by Cardinals DB Patrick Peterson into field goal range. However, Carson Palmer tried to force one into the end zone late -- throwing a pick to seal a 24-7 deficit at the half.

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