Colts take Panthers to OT before falling
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 rain-drenched Monday night, allowing them to remain the NFC's only unbeaten team. It was Carolina's 11th straight regular season 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 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 23-20.