NFL Week 12: Carolina Panthers Earn Their First Road Win in Nearly Two Years

Eric SmithCorrespondent IIINovember 27, 2011

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - NOVEMBER 27:  Reggie Wayne #87 of the Indianapolis Colts walks off of the field after the Colts lost 27-19 to Carolina Panthers at Lucas Oil Stadium on November 27, 2011 in Indianapolis, Indiana.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Carolina had a 12-game road losing streak entering Lucas Oil Stadium today. They haven't won a road game since December 27th, 2009 against the New York Giants at the Meadowlands.

Today the Panthers (3-8) ended that streak against the Colts with a 27-19 victory in a game where the Colts beat themselves.

Blame this loss once again on Colts VP Bill Polian and head coach Jim Caldwell. On Wednesday Caldwell stood by Painter and said he was "developing" and clearly was his quarterback.

I have to agree with the local Indianapolis media in that this Colts front office and coaching staff is treating us fans like we're dumb and lying to our faces.

Carolina didn't deserve this win today. The Colts had every ample opportunity to pull this win out and avoid their first 0-11 start since 1986.

Carolina has blown five fourth quarter leads this season and has given up the most fourth quarter points in the league. They showed us why today.

Curtis Painter blew a two-point conversion with a chance to pull the Colts to within a field goal, then blew the final two possessions of the game.

On the Colts' ninth possession of the game and trailing 24-13, Reggie Wayne bailed out Painter and made a brilliant catch on a bad third down throw. Wayne spun around after the catch, broke a tackle, and took the ball 56 yards to score his first touchdown since Week 1 to bring the Colts within five.

The Colts went for the two-point conversion, and with a brilliant crossing route by Austin Collie on Painter's right side he was wide open for the sure conversion to bring the Colts within three points. Painter severely underthrew the open Collie, and Collie's attempt to dive for the ball failed.

On the ensuing kickoff the Colts special teams showed why they're the league's worst in letting Carolina return the ball all the way down to the Colts' 32 yard line. The Colts defense made three straight stops and forced Carolina to kick a 41-yard field goal attempt. Mare nailed his second field goal of the day and gave the Panthers a 27-19 lead.

During their next possession, Indianapolis drove the ball down the field. They looked like they were about to score, but Painter once again severely underthrew a receiver, this time Pierre Garcon in the end zone, and Chris Gamble picked it off. Fault Painter on that because this would have been a touchdown if he made a good pass. Garcon had Gamble beat by at least a step.

Carolina went three-and-out and the Colts got the ball back with 3:09 left in the game with no timeouts.

Curtis Painter had a chance to redeem himself and make a Peyton Manning-type drive to lead the Colts to a tie and force overtime.

He made it look like he was going to turn the doubters into believers and give the Colts their first win. Indy drove down the field brilliantly and Painter made a clutch throw to Austin Collie on fourth-and-five to give the Colts the ball inside the 10 with 1:07 left in the game.

The refs blew an obvious call when a Panthers defender held Colts tight end Jacob Tamme in the end zone, but didn't make the call. That would have moved the ball half the distance to the goal, but the refs thought otherwise.

The next play, Painter threw an interception on a bad throw to Austin Collie in the end zone and that was it. An undeserving Panthers victory leaves us wondering when this Colts team will ever win.

I'm not saying backup Dan Orlovsky would have made a difference, but Painter had three chances at the end and choked bad.

Painter was 2 for 6 with 19 yards at the halftime break. How is that even allowed against a horrible Panthers team?

Painter rebounded a bit and finished 15 for 29 for 226 yards, one touchdown, and two interceptions.

If they want any chance to win, let's try something different.

Another thing that needs to be fixed is this run defense.

The Colts gave up 201 yards on the ground in 35 attempts. That's a 5.7 yard average for the Panthers.

DeAngelo Williams led the Panthers rushing attack with 15 carries for 69 yards and two touchdowns. Both of those touchdowns came in the second half. One on a 25-yard run on the Panthers first possession in the half, and the other two possessions later on a 2-yard run.

The other back the Panthers use, Jonathan Stewart, led the Panthers in rushing with 70 yards on 10 carries.

Cam Newton also had a great day on the ground, rushing nine times for 53 yards and a touchdown. Newton set a rookie record for touchdowns with his tenth rushing touchdown of the season on the Panthers third possession of the game. His TD gave the Panthers a 10-0 lead.

Newton finished 20 for 27 passing with 208 yards and zero touchdowns or interceptions.

A few things the Colts defense did do well is sacking Newton three times for 32 yards lost, and limiting wide receiver Steve Smith in holding him to three receptions for 68 yards. Two of those receptions came on that drive in the second half that led to Williams' touchdown run.

Another few things the Colts did well was to force a couple mistakes. The first came at the end of the first half when Jamaal Anderson blocked Panthers kicker Olindo Mare's 45-yard attempt as time expired at the end of the half.

The other was Jacob Lacey forcing and recovering a fumble on Panthers tight end Jeremy Shockey on the Panthers' second possession after the half.

The Colts offense can hang their heads high, minus Painter. They did gain 105 yards on the ground and only allowed Painter to be sacked twice. The ineffectiveness on offense was all due to Painters' inability to run this offense. It was nothing the Panthers did to stop the Colts.

Donald Brown led the Colts rushing attack with 80 yards and a touchdown on 14 carries. He scored his touchdown on a brilliant run on the Colts third offensive possession of the game. He ran the ball to the right side and scored the first Colts offensive touchdown in November. It was the third touchdown for Brown on the season.

Reggie Wayne led the Colts in receiving with five catches for 122 yards and a touchdown. Pierre Garcon and Austin Collie each had three receptions, with Garcon getting 34 yards receiving to Collie's 28.

Adam Vinatieri accounted for the Colts other scoring plays with two field goals. He hit a 43-yarder to tie the game at 10 in the first half, and hit a 38-yarder in the second half cut the Panthers lead to 17-13.

The Colts (0-11) travel to take on the AFC East leading New England Patriots in Foxboro at 1 P.M. next Sunday.


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