Panthers hampered by costly turnovers, injuries and penalties in 27-13 loss to Colts
By Kevin Tolbert
The Carolina Panthers saw the momentum gained after their Week-8 win fizzle on Sunday after a 27-13 loss to the Indianapolis Colts.
The Panthers were not able to get into the end zone in the first half. The team started the game with a scoreless first quarter, a factor that is becoming more of a trend with the current offensive unit.
It wasn't until the second half that the Panthers were able to get into the end zone.
During the only touchdown drive of the game for the Panthers, Bryce Young conducted a well orchestrated drive - much like the final drive during the Texans matchup in Week-8. The 15-play, 75-yard drive that was capped with a 5-yard touchdown reception by DJ Chark included the power rushing to move the drive along that the team has been trying to ignite for most of the season. And when the drive almost ended, Tommy Tremble reeled in the reception to convert on fourth down and keep the chains moving.
Despite the Panthers outweighing the Colts in passing and rushing yards as well as time of possession, it was the penalties that became the biggest hurdle for Carolina. The Panthers had 10 penalties for 81 yards.
The Colts' defense proved to be much different from the team they've been during their most recent string of losses. The biggest reason for that turnaround was the play of Colts' cornerback Kenny Moore. Moore intercepted Young for touchdowns twice during the game - a stat that made him the only Colts player to have two such plays in a single game.
In a game where Young threw a total of three interceptions, was sacked four times and went 24 of 39 for 217 yards in the air and a touchdown, the frustration that might have shaken many rookies has yet to rattle Young. "It's a long season. You can't carry any of that over," Young said during his post game press conference.
Panthers head coach Frank Reich talked about seeing some of the best to play in the NFL go through even worse circumstances and his belief in Young moving forward. "I've seen this happen to the best quarterbacks in the history of the game," Reich said.
"They all have games like this. Sure it's going to be easy to put it on the quarterback, but you bounce back. That is what makes the great ones. But developing into the franchise quarterback, it's a long road."
In the loss, the Panthers also saw an already heavily injury riddled roster take several more major hits.
Panthers outside linebacker Brian Burns suffered a concussion. Cornerback CJ Henderson also left the game with a concussion. And safety Xavier Woods was sidelined with a thigh injury and tight end Stephen Sullivan left the game with a shoulder injury and did not return.
Reich talked about the advantages of the short week the team has before facing the Chicago Bears on Thursday night but admits the process is difficult.