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Panthers Build Big First Half Lead; Stop Bucs to Move to 6-2 with 42-28 Win

The Panthers built a 35-7 lead Sunday at home against the NFC South rival Buccaneers, only to have to do a little extra work late in order to put away Tampa, winning 42-28.

The win puts the Cats at 6-2 on the season, and now they have to quickly shift their focus to a very short week as they will head to Pittsburgh Thursday to take on the Steelers, who won Sunday against Baltimore 23-16 to move to 5-2-1.

Back to Sunday, the Panthers got a big day from running back Christian McCaffrey, as he put up 157 total yards and scored twice.

Second-year wide receiver Curtis Samuel scored on a 33-yard double reverse and hauled in a 19-yard TD catch midway through the fourth quarter to seal the two touchdown win.

Panthers QB Cam Newton completed 19 of 25 passes for 247 yards and two touchdowns in the win.

In the win the Panthers ripped off 35 first-half points after failing to score on their first possession. The 35 points was a franchise record for first-half scoring.

Four of five were rushing touchdowns, including two from McCaffrey, and the fifth came from tight end Greg Olsen.

“We have guys who are so explosive, so dynamic and so good in the open space,” Olsen said.

“We can give them balls on handoffs, throw it to them all — they’re very unique in that regard. I don’t know what we have had this many guys who are that dynamic with the ball in their hands.”

The Bucs came with pressure on D in the second half, and got to Newton, sacking him twice and hitting him four times in the third quarter, putting the Panthers offense in a tailspin.

Tampa rallied, but rookie cornerback Donte Jackson put the game away, as he picked off a Ryan Fitzpatrick pass with 3:45 to play.

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