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Buccaneers vs. Panthers Half Time Update: Carolina dominates, but trails 10-9

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers haven't played well, but they're still in the lead at the half.

Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

The Carolina Panthers are trailing the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 10-9 in this week's horrendous NFC South clash.

The Panthers have moved the ball nearly at will on the Bucs' defense, running for first downs consistently and finding Greg Olsen and Kelvin Benjamin on intermediate passes at will. But every time they've gotten into scoring position, Carolina faced a suddenly stout Tampa Bay defense and have had to settle for field goals -- missing one 51-yarder. They haven't had to punt, they've managed to run the ball for 95 yards on just 16 carries, but somehow have scored just nine points.

Meanwhile, the Buccaneers haven't done much better. They managed to find Mike Evans in the end zone after a 63-yard Doug Martin run on the team's first drove of the game, but that was an anomaly: the rest of the first half was filled with punts, including one particularly galling one from the Carolina 37-yard line.

The one exception was the end of the half. With the Panthers taking the lead with a field goal in the two-minute warning, the Bucs felt pressure to do something themselves -- and that's exactly what they did: they just found Charles Sims on three passes to get them into field goal range and take a 10-9 lead into the half.

And that's what we have at the half. A close game that really doesn't feel like it should be this close. The Bucs are going to have to play much better in the second half if they want to beat the Panthers, who won't keep kicking field goals instead of scoring touchdowns forever.