Halftime thoughts on Panthers at Chicago

The play of Carolina’s defensive line has brought some sudden life to the Panthers.

They’re 1-5 and everyone is on the hot seat. But, so far Sunday, things are going well for the Panthers. They hold a 13-7 halftime lead.

Carolina’s defensive front has been all over Chicago quarterback Jay Cutler. Defensive end Greg Hardy is having the best game of his career. Defensive end Charles Johnson set up Carolina’s only touchdown with a sack/fumble that was recovered by Frank Alexander that gave the Panthers the ball deep in Chicago territory.

Carolina quarterback Cam Newton broke free on a scramble, but fumbled just before the goal line. Carolina receiver Louis Murphy recovered the fumble in the end zone for a touchdown. The Panthers also have added two field goals, which matches their total amount of field goals for the first six games.

The only downside so far -- and this is significant for a team and a quarterback facing intense scrutiny -- is that FOX television announcer Darryl Johnston has been hammering Newton for not thanking Murphy. I’m not doubting Johnston, who is in the stadium. But, from my vantage point I was not able to see if there was any interaction between Newton and Murphy after the play.

Feel free to share your thoughts on the Panthers in the comments section below. I’ll be back with a wrap-up soon after the game ends.