The Panthers did next to nothing in the second quarter against a Titans' defense that took an interesting approach. Tennessee blitzed rookie QB Cam Newton on first down, then would drop back in zone coverage on second and third downs and allow Newton to complete all the underneath passes he wanted.
The approach resulted in several second-and-long situations for the Panthers. Newton was sacked twice – both times on first down – and the Panthers' backs were dropped for big losses on first down as well.
The Panthers had 58 yards passing at the half, by far their lowest total of the season for a half.
Of the Panthers' first seven possessions of the first half, five were three plays-and-punt. The others resulted in a Greg Olsen fumble. There also was a drive in which the Panthers picked up a single first down.
The Panthers' defense clamped down after allowing a 38-yard field goal by Rob Bironas put the Titans up 17-0 in the opening seconds of the second quarter.
Newton singlehandedly put...