Thoughts on the Panthers’ 27-19 win over the Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium:
What it means: The Colts lost a quality chance to break into the win column, failing to get into the end zone from the Panthers’ 3-yard line and not giving themselves a chance at a tying 2-point conversion. They remain well ahead in the “fight” for the No. 1 pick in the April draft and Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck.
What I didn’t like: Curtis Painter threw two interceptions and had a fumble that Joseph Addai recovered. The Colts managed only one third-down conversion in nine chances and managed only 23:43 of possession time. Cam Newton and DeAngelo Williams found the route to the end zone to be too easy on their touchdown runs. The no-call on the Colts’ second to last offensive play where it appeared pass interference was committed against tight end Jacob Tamme.
What I liked: Seeing Robert Mathis and Dwight Freeney both in the sack column. Only two penalties. Jamaal Anderson with a field-goal block to preserve a 10-10 tie just before the half. Reggie Wayne’s first touchdown catch since Week 1, even if two Panthers crashed into each other and knocked themselves out of the play to allow it to happen. A ceremony putting Marvin Harrison’s name in the team’s ring of honor.
What I wonder: Will the Colts allow Donald Brown, who ran well with 80 yards and a TD on 14 carries, increased chances? Any doghouse issues from his early failures should be well behind him. Hand it to him a bunch and see how he can do.
What’s next: A Colts trip to New England would usually be for one of the NFL’s premier games of the season. That’s not the case this time, as the Patriots will be heavy, heavy favorites. There is no love lost between the Patriots and Colts, and I imagine Bill Belichick will make it hurt as much as he possibly can.