Es­cap­ing un­scathed

Car­olina is only NFC team with­out a loss

Packer Plus - - Preview: Packers (6-1) Vs. Panthers (7-0) - By STEVE REED

Char­lotte, N.C. — The Car­olina Pan­thers refuse to lose.

Gra­ham Gano kicked a 52-yard field goal in over­time to lift the Pan­thers to a 29-26 win over the In­di­anapo­lis Colts on a rain­drenched Mon­day night, al­low­ing them to re­main the NFC's only un­beaten team.

It was Car­olina's 11th straight reg­u­larsea­son vic­tory dat­ing back to last sea­son.

The Pan­thers didn't make it easy on them­selves.

Car­olina sur­ren­dered a 17-point fourth quar­ter lead as An­drew Luck threw two touch­down passes in the fi­nal 7:11 of reg­u­la­tion and led an­other field goal drive at the end of reg­u­la­tion.

The teams traded field goals in over­time, with Gano ty­ing the score on a 42-yarder with 7:50 to go. On the Colts' en­su­ing pos­ses­sion, safety Ro­man Harper de­flected Luck's pass over the mid­dle to Coby Fleener and line­backer Luke Kuechly — who had dropped an ear­lier in­ter­cep­tion that would have sealed the game at the end of reg­u­la­tion — came up with the pick at the Colts 39.

Four plays later Gano, who had missed an ex­tra point ear­lier in the game, hit the game-win­ner.

“I had a lot of con­fi­dence in Gra­ham,” Pan­thers coach Ron Rivera said. “A kid like him is just fear­less.”

Cam New­ton was 16 of 35 for 248 yards with two touch­downs and one in­ter­cep­tion. He also ran for 41 yards.

De­spite sur­ren­der­ing a 23-6 lead in the fourth quar­ter, Car­olina had a chance to win the game in over­time but Ted Ginn Jr. dropped a wide open 56-yard touch­down pass. Greg Olsen would bail his team­mate out with a one-handed catch to help set up Gano's ty­ing field goal.

Luck had been lim­ited to 40 yards pass­ing and two in­ter­cep­tions through the first three quar­ters, but caught fire in the fourth quar­ter.

He threw an 18-yard touch­down pass to An­dre John­son and an 8-yard TD strike to Fleener to bring the Colts to within the 2320.

The Pan­thers, with the No. 1 run­ning game in the league, couldn't pick up a first down to put the game away and were forced to punt the ball away.

Luck drove the Colts back down the field, com­plet­ing a fourth-and-10 pass to Griff Whalen to keep the chains mov­ing. On a third-and-4 from the 6, Luck fired into the end zone and Kuechly nearly came down with an in­ter­cep­tion but the ball fell out of his hands on a wet field with two sec­onds left.

Adam Vi­natieri hit the third of his four field goals as time ex­pired to send the game into over­time. He then gave the Colts a 2623 lead on a 50-yarder with 12:04 left in the ex­tra pe­riod.

Play­ing in a steady rain, the Pan­thers de­fense put the clamps on Luck early, in­ter­cept­ing the strug­gling quar­ter­back twice to take a 10-0 lead.

New­ton threw an in­ter­cep­tion and also fum­bled on the Colts 3-yard line, but ral­lied late in the third quar­ter. Lead­ing 10-6, New­ton threw touch­down passes to Greg Olsen and Philly Brown to give the Pan­thers a 23-6 lead.

GETTY IMAGES

The Pan­thers’ Cam New­ton (left) and Jonathan Stew­art cel­e­brate Stew­art's touch­down against the Colts.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.