San Diego defense hammered early, Chargers still lead

Posted by ESPN.com's Bill Williamson

SAN DIEGO -- The word around the league prior to Sunday's San Diego-Carolina game was that the Panthers would have a chance against the injury-laden Chargers -- if the Panthers could survive on offense without Steve Smith.

Early in the second quarter, the Carolina offense is doing more than surviving. It is dominating.

Still, Carolina has little to show for it, as it trails 7-3. The Panthers have 100 yards passing and 50 yards on the ground in the first quarter. San Diego could do little to stop the Panthers.

However, San Diego did stop Carolina when it counted the most. Carolina had a fourth and goal situation from inside San Diego's 1-yard line. Jake Delhomme threw behind fullback Brad Hoover in the end zone.

Early in the second quarter, the Panthers ended another long drive with a 44-yard field goal by John Kasay to take a 3-0 and get something for their early domination of the Chargers.