INDIANAPOLIS — The only highlight for Colts fans came at halftime, when wide receiver Marvin Harrison was inducted into the team's Ring of Honor and they got to cheer many of the big plays he made in helping Indianapolis win a Super Bowl and dominate for a decade.
When the second half began, reality set in at Lucas Oil Stadium. Carolina rookie Cam Newton threw for 208 yards and ran for one touchdown and DeAngelo Williams added two other touchdowns in the Panthers' 27-19 win Sunday that kept the Colts winless through 11 games.
At least the Colts didn't get blown out like they have the past few weeks. With his team down by eight points, Curtis Painter found Austin Collie for 12 yards to the Carolina 3 on fourth-and-5 with 1:21 left. Two plays later, Collie couldn't hang onto Painter's pass, and Sherrod Martin made the interception to clinch the win.
"We played hard," Colts safety Antoine Bethea said. "Should have had it, but they just made some plays, and we didn't make enough plays."
Indy is 0-11 for the first time since 1986 and has lost six home games in a season for the sixth time since moving from Baltimore in 1984. The Colts produced 1 yard of total offense in the first quarter, drawing boos from a stadium that was still nearly full. They had 142 total yards through three quarters, then turned the ball over once they started moving it.
"It's not fun right now," Colts tight end Jacob Tamme said. "I'm really upset. It's part of it."
Painter was 15 of 29 for 226 yards with one TD and the two interceptions, Reggie Wayne caught five passes for 122 yards and Donald Brown ran 14 times for 80 yards for the Colts.
Carolina had lost 12 consecutive road games since beating the New York Giants on Dec. 27, 2009.
Carolina ran for a season-high 201 yards. Jonathan Stewart ran 10 times for 70 yards, Williams finished with 15 carries for 69 yards and Newton ran nine times for 53 yards.
The Panthers (3-8) never trailed, but they couldn't put away Indianapolis until the final minute.
Carolina broke a 10-all halftime tie with a nifty 25-yard TD run from Williams, who sidestepped one defender in the middle of the field, then cut right and outran the Colts defense for the score.
After Indy closed to 17-13 on a 31-yard field goal from Adam Vinatieri, Williams scored on a 2-yard run early in the fourth quarter.
Painter found Wayne over the middle, and the receiver slipped a tackle, turned left and sprinted into the end zone for a 56-yard TD, his longest pass play of the season. Collie couldn't haul in Painter's 2-point conversion pass, making the score 24-19.
Carolina followed that with an 81-yard kickoff return by Kealoha Pilares that led to a 41-yard field goal. The Panthers appeared to have the game wrapped up when Chris Gamble picked off Painter's underthrown ball in the end zone, right in front of Colts receiver Pierre Garcon.
The Colts got the ball once more, but that drive ended when Painter threw the late interception.
"We've got five games left," Bethea said. "We've got to keep rallying and stick together."
Notes: Peyton Manning joined Harrison during the Ring of Honor induction ceremony. ... Indy also honored three-time Cup champion Tony Stewart during the break for the two-minute warning at the end of the first half. ... Colts defensive back Stevie Brown injured his quadriceps in the first half and fullback Ryan Mahaffey left in the third quarter with a concussion. ...Pilares had a long punt return called back in the first half because of an illegal block. ... Newton has now rushed for 10 TDs this season. Only two quarterbacks have ever had more — Kordell Stewart (11) with Pittsburgh in 1997 and Steve Grogan (12) with New England in 1976.
Follow Cliff Brunt on Twitter: www.twitter.com/cliffbruntap
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