CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Sloppy. Nasty. Ugly.
And the weather was bad too.
The Carolina Panthers gave up a 17-point lead in the fourth quarter to Andrew Luck and the Indianapolis Colts, then got a 52-yard field goal from kicker Graham Gano to beat the Indianapolis Colts 29-26 in overtime on a rainy Monday night.
Luck’s pass intended for tight end Coby Fleener was deflected by safety Roman Harper and intercepted by linebacker Luke Kuechly at the 39 in overtime to set up the winning field goal.
Earlier in overtime, Indianapolis kicker Adam Vinatieri made a 50-yard field goal that gave the Colts a 26-23 lead before Newton drove the Panthers from their 20 to the Colts’ 23. Gano made a 42-yard field goal tied it at 26.
The victory gave Carolina a 7-0 start, the best in the franchise’s 21-year history, and a 1 1/2-game lead over Atlanta in the NFC South.
But the Panthers didn’t make it easy.
A 27-yard touchdown pass from Cam Newton to Greg Olsen with 14 seconds to play in the third quarter made it 17-6. Then, after Kurt Coleman’s interception of Andrew Luck, an 8-yard Newton touchdown pass to Philly Brown in the corner of the end zone made it 23-6, giving some breathing room.
Two fourth-quarter touchdown passes by Luck, an 18-yarder to Andre Johnson and an 8-yarder to Fleener made it 23-20 with 2:27 to play.
A three-and-out by Carolina gave Indianapolis the ball back at their 40 with 2:02 to play, down 23-20.
Three straight incompletions brought up fourth and 10, but Luck found Griff Whelen for 12 yards, a catch that withstood a booth review.
After a breakup of a deep pass to T.Y. Hilton by Panthers cornerback Josh Norman, another completion to Whelen moved the ball to the Carolina 37.
Four completions and two Luck scrambles moved the ball from there to the Panthers’ 6 with seven seconds to play. Luke Kuechly’s near interception on third down, but Vinatieri’s 24-yard field goal sent the game to overtime.
©2015 The Charlotte Observer (Charlotte, N.C.)
Visit The Charlotte Observer (Charlotte, N.C.) at www.charlotteobserver.com
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.