What we learned while watching the Colts blow their best chance for a win that was left on the schedule:
1. 0-16 is becoming a realistic possibility for the Colts after losing 27-19 to Carolina. Indianapolis goes on the road the next two weeks in Foxborough and Baltimore. That brings them to 0-13.
The Colts finish by hosting the Titans and Texans, then heading to Jacksonville. Their best chance was Sunday because the Colts could actually score on Carolina. This was the Panthers’ first road win since 2009.
2. Indianapolis actually played with heart in the fourth quarter. Their defense stopped the Panthers two straight times to give them a shot. Reggie Wayne made a few great moves on a long touchdown.
Curtis Painter drove the Colts down to the three-yard line with under a minute to go. Next two plays: Near interception, interception on tipped pass. Game over. Painter can’t throw deep and throws into coverage too often.
3. Cam Newton is such a weapon on the ground with 53 rushing yards. He’s the go-to option on third-and-short. He scored a 14-yard touchdown one such play and kept drives moving other times. Carolina overwhelmed the Colts up front.
The Panthers rushed 35 times for 201 yards overall in the game, split evenly between Newton, Jonathan Stewart, and DeAngelo Williams. The Panthers played things a little more conservative after Newton’s recent interceptions and it paid off.
Newton completed 20-of-27 passes for 208 yards. There were a few misfires, but also some darts.
4. In a battle of bad defenses, Carolina may have looked worse. The Colts actually opened big holes in the running game. Donald Brown rushed for 80 yards.
5. Just give the No. 1 overall pick to the Colts now. The Panthers now have three wins. The Colts remain two games behind Minnesota and St. Louis, and they’ll be lucky to win one more game.