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December 24, 2011

Second-quarter blog: Panthers 20, Bucs 10

The Panthers used a record-breaking pass play to take a 20-10 lead into halftime Saturday over Tampa Bay in a first half that featured no punts.

Two plays after the Bucs scored to make it 10-7, Cam Newton hit Brandon LaFell on a 91-yard touchdown pass that was the longest pass play in team history.

Newton threw a rope over cornerback E.J. Biggers, and LaFell went up and caught it and kept his feet. Receiver Steve Smith then ran down and threw a block on Biggers to assure LaFell scored.

The Panthers' previous longest pass play was an 89-yarder from Kerry Collins to Willie Greene in a win over Atlanta on Dec. 17, 1995, at Clemson.

The Bucs responded with an 11-play, 61-yard drive that ended with Connor Barth's 42-yard field goal that cut the lead to 17-10 with 5:33 remaining.

The Panthers drove inside the 10 on their next drive. But Ron Rivera opted for a field goal on fourth-and-goal from the 1. Olindo Mare's second field goal – a 19-yarder with 25 seconds left – made it a two-possession game.

Tampa Bay quarterback Josh Freeman was 13-of-14 for 127 yards in the first half with 13 consecutive completions. Newton was 8-of-12 for 142 yards and a score.

--Joseph Person

Posted by Observer Sports on December 24, 2011 at 02:19 PM | Permalink

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