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Buccaneers lead Panthers 6-0 at halftime

The Buccaneers need a win to clinch the NFC South and advance to the postseason.

It was an ugly first half, but Tampa Bay is on track to do just that with a 6-0 lead over Carolina at the break.

Chase McLaughlin has hit a pair of field goals — one from 36 yards and another from 57 yards as time expired in the second quarter.

But other than that, the Buccaneers have looked entirely sluggish on offense. Quarterback Baker Mayfield is dealing with an injury to his ribs and he hasn't looked great in the first half. He's 15-of-26 passing for 93 yards as Tampa Bay has just eight first downs and 131 total yards.

The Panthers, however, have looked worse. Bryce Young is 6-of-11 passing for 66 yards. The team has just four first downs, 106 yards, and is 0-of-6 on third down.

It did look like the Panthers would be able to take a touchdown lead early on in the second quarter when DJ Chark took a catch-and-run down to the goal line.

But safety Antoine Winfield Jr. jarred the ball out of Chark’s hands just before he broke the plane for his sixth forced fumble of the season. While the play was initially ruled a touchdown, it was overturned upon review. Jamel Deal had a clear recovery in the end zone for a touchback.

Carolina’s Derrick Brown reached 99 tackles midway through the second quarter, setting a new record for tackles made by a defensive lineman dating back to 1994. Brown has undoubtedly been a bright spot in a bad year for the Panthers.

The Bucs have been messing around but so far they haven’t found anything out. The Panthers will receive the second half kickoff.