Why didn’t the Miami Dolphins sit on the ball before halftime at Carolina?

Carolina Panthers middle linebacker Luke Kuechly intercepts a Miami Dolphins pass in the second quarter at Bank of America Stadium on Monday. (David T. Foster III/Charlotte Observer/TNS)

CHARLOTTE — With 47 seconds left in the first half and the Miami Dolphins trailing only 10-7, quarterback Jay Cutler threw an interception to Luke Kuechly that quickly led to a demoralizing Carolina Panthers touchdown on Monday night.

But with the ball at their own 20, why didn’t the Dolphins just run the clock out and live to play the second half?

“I felt like we were moving the ball pretty good,” Dolphins coach Adam Gase said. “Had a good feeling as far as what they were going to play. I just didn’t think that he (Kuechly) was going to push that far on that coverage.”

Four plays later, Cam Newton tossed a seven-yard touchdown to tight end Ed Dickson for a 17-7 lead that turned the momentum of the game.

[PHOTO GALLERY: Amazing images from the Fins’ embarrassing loss in Carolina]

Cutler was not surprised that Gase was aggressive in that moment.

“We got the coverage we wanted,” Cutler said. “We made a good call there. I just have to make a better play.”

Cutler’s throw was intended for tight end Julius Thomas along the left sideline, but Kuechly dropped back into coverage and made the interception.

“Technically, he (Kuechly) shouldn’t be there,” Cutler said.

Meanwhile, in the Panthers locker room, Kuechly was saying his coach had prepped him properly for that route by Thomas all week.

“I had an idea out of that condensed formation,” Kuechly said. “There are a couple of routes.”

Gase said he felt the right play was called.

“A little surprised that Kuechly got over there,” Gase said. “Jay was saying he might have left it a little behind him (Thomas) but that was a really good play by him (Kuechly).

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