Panthers survive a crazy Colts comeback to win in overtime
A lot of people who went to bed early in the fourth quarter of what looked like a sure blowout on “Monday Night Football” will be surprised to see the final score.
Oh, the Carolina Panthers are still undefeated. But it got crazy on the way to the 29-26 OT final.
The Indianapolis Colts pulled off an enormous comeback after 11 p.m. ET on Monday night to send the game to overtime. The Carolina Panthers seemed to have a win wrapped up, and then had to overcome a fourth-quarter collapse and an awful drop by Ted Ginn in overtime to eventually win and improve to 7-0.
And the game turned in overtime on yet another mistake by Colts quarterback Andrew Luck and a huge interception by star linebacker Luke Kuechly.
The Colts got the ball back after the Panthers tied the game in overtime, and a score would have won it. But Luck threw late across the middle, it was tipped in the air by safety Roman Harper and it was intercepted by Kuechly. The Panthers got just a few yards after that, but it was enough for kicker Graham Gano to win the game on a 52-yard field goal.
The thought of the contest going to overtime seemed laughable early in the fourth quarter.
The Panthers led 23-6 after an 8-yard Corey Brown touchdown. The extra point was missed, but no big deal, right? The Colts looked dead all night in the heavy rain so a 17-point lead seemed like more than enough.
And then Luck and the Colts came to life.
Luck led the Colts on three straight scoring drives. The Colts caught some breaks, especially with some questionable calls that went their way, particularly on a fourth-down catch by Griff Whalen that might have touched the ground before he controlled it. Adam Vinatieri tied the game with a field goal on the last play of regulation.
Vinatieri gave the Colts the lead in overtime, with a field goal on the first possession of overtime. On Carolina’s first possession, Cam Newton made an incredible throw that should have been a 56-yard game-winning touchdown to a wide-open Ted Ginn, who dropped the ball. The Panthers rebounded after Ginn’s miscue to tie it with a field goal of their own.
Then Luck made his last mistake of the game, setting up another overtime field goal by Gano to win it. The Panthers will go into a showdown against the Green Bay Packers next week as the NFC’s lone undefeated team, but it ended up being a lot tougher than it appeared it would be after three quarters.