That was not the start the Cowboys wanted, especially on offense.
Dallas gained just 61 total yards and four first downs in the first half, spending most of the first 30 minutes bottled up deep in its own end and facing third-and-forever.
Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott completed 6 o 10 passes for 46 yards and was sacked twice. He also missed an opportunity for a big play when he missed a wide open Blake Jarwin down the field late in the second quarter. It looked like a bad throw and a bad decision as Prescott appeared to have enough space in front of him to run for a first down, but chose to try to hit Jarwin and threw it well short.
Instead, Dallas punted and Carolina put together its second scoring drive right before halftime.
The Dallas defense held its own for most of the half, but Cam Newton still did enough to create offensive momentum for the Panthers. Newton rushed for 64 yards and a TD and completed 11 of 18 passes for 102 yards.
It could have been worse had defensive tackle Daniel Ross not caused a Christian McCaffrey fumble that Demarcus Lawrence recovered inside the 10 to stop a Panthers score.
This immediately looked like a tough matchup for a Dallas offense that needs to get Ezekiel Elliott going to open up its offense. The Panthers stuffed Elliott, holding him to 18 yards on 7 carries.
So the big question of the second half: Will the Cowboys be able to use the passing game to ignite the offense and get back in the game?