Panthers Can’t Outrace Colts in Week 9

By Rockin’ Reese

Colts 27 – Panthers 13

After defeating the Houston Texans for their first victory of the 2023-24 NFL season, the Carolina Panthers were hoping to make it 2 wins in a row. This time, they hoped to defeat the Indianapolis Colts at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, North Carolina. However, the Colts had other plans.

The Panthers tried to get things going with (running backs) Chuba Hubbard having a 4-yard run & Miles Sanders having a 5-yard run. Unfortunately for the home team, a false start penalty on 3rd & 1 would prove to be costly. Now with a 3rd & 5, (quarterback) Bryce Young only managed to gain 4 yards, resulting in a punt.

The Colts started their possession with (quarterback) Gardner Minshew completing a 4-yard pass to (running back) Jonathan Taylor. After Taylor ran for 5 yards, the  Colts would have 3rd down penalties affect their drive. First, Minshew’s 2-yard pass to (tight end) Andrew Ogletree was negated, because (offensive lineman) Quenton Nelson was an ineligible man downfield. Then, the Colts suffered a false start. Now, with 3rd & 11, Minshew could only complete a 10-yard pass to (wide receiver) Josh Downs.

Colts

The Colts were forced to punt, but the Panthers were called for holding, during the return. Young completed a 5-yard pass to (running back) Raheem Blackshear, only for Hubbard to lose 4 yards on a run. Young threw an incomplete pass, forcing another 3 and out.  The Panthers got a huge break, as (Colts wide receiver) Isaiah McKenzie muffed the punt & the ball was recovered by  (Panthers linebacker) Chandler Wooten. Hubbard ran for 9 yards, entering Colts territory for the first time.

Hubbard ran for 2 more yard to gain a 1st down. However, Young threw 2 consecutive incomplete passes & was sacked by (defensive lineman) DeForest Buckner for a 10-yard loss. For the third time in the first quarter, the Panthers punted. The Colts started their next drive with a 4-yard run from Taylor. After Minshew completed a 5-yard pass to (wide receiver) Michael Pittman Jr., Taylor managed to get a 1st down on a 3rd & 1.

Taylor ran for 13 yards, then ran for 3 more. Minshew completed a pass to Taylor for no gain, then ran for 7 yards. During Minshew’s run, (Panthers cornerback) Troy Hill was called for unneccessary roughness, sending the Colts into Panthers territory for the first time. There were 3 consecutive runs from (running back) Zack Moss (5 yards, 8 yards, & 5 yards) to enter the red zone of the Panthers. Minshew completed a 10-yard pass to Pittman Jr. to set up 1st & goal from Carolina’s 2-yard line. Minshew ran for 1 yard, as the quarter expired.

In the second quarter, Taylor lost that yard on a run. After a false start, Minshew threw an incomplete pass. The Colts scored first, after (kicker) Matt Gay kicked a 26-yard field goal. Young was sacked by (defensive linemen) Eric Johnson & Kwity Paye for a 10-yard loss. After Young threw an incomplete pass, he completed a 6-yard pass to (tight end) Hayden Hurst. For the 4th time, the Panthers punted.

Taylor had 3 consecutive runs to start the next Colts drive & end up in Panthers territory. Minshew threw an incomplete pass, then completed a 19-yard pass to Ogletree. After a 5-yard pass to Pittman Jr., Taylor lost 2 yards on a run. Minshew threw an incomplete pass on 3rd & 7, but (Panthers safety) Xavier Woods was called for unneccessary roughness, setting the Colts up in the red zone. Moss ran for 2 yards, then Minshew threw a 10-yard touchdown pass to Taylor. Gay would kick the extra point. On the kickoff, Blackshear nearly ran the ball to midfield.

Colts

Hubbard had 2 runs (5 yards & 20 yards) to get into Colts territory. An encroachment penalty was called on the Colts, then Hubbard ran for no gain. After throwing an incomplete pass, Young ran for 6 yards & a 1st down. Hubbard ran for no gain, then Young threw an incomplete pass. After Young threw a 3-yard pass to (wide receiver) Adam Thielen, (kicker) Eddy Piñeiro made a 35-yard field goal.

On the ensuing kickoff, tempers flared, as (Panthers safety) Sam Franklin Jr. & (Colts cornerback) Chris Lammons were called for unsportsmanlike conduct. Moss ran for 3 yards, then Minshew threw an incomplete pass. After a false start was called on the Colts, Minshew completed a 16-yard pass to Pittman Jr. for a 1st down. Moss ran for 2 yards, which led to the 2-minute warning. Minshew completed a pass to Taylor for 7 yards, then Taylor ran for 2 yards to earn a 1st down at midfield.

Minshew completed 2 consecutive passes to Pittman Jr. for 10 yards & Taylor for 1 yard. After 2 incomplete passes from Minshew, Gay made a 57-yard field goal with less than a minute remaining in the first half. Young completed a 7-yard pass to (tight end) Stephen Sullivan, a 5-yard pass to (wide receiver) Jonathan Mingo, & a 9-yard pass to Sullivan. Young threw an incomplete pass, then Hubbard ran for 3 yards. With 31 seconds left, Young had a pass intercepted by (Colts cornerback) Kenny Moore II & it was returned 49 yards for a touchdown.

Gay made his 2nd extra point of the game. On the final play, Young was sacked by (defensive lineman) Dayo Odeyingbo for a 7-yard loss. The Colts had a 20-3 lead at halftime.

In the third quarter, Taylor starting the opening possession of the second half with a run for no gain. On the next play, (Panthers cornerback) Donte Johnson was called for illegal contact, giving the Colts a 1st down. Minshew completed a pass to McKenzie for 1 yard, threw an incomplete pass, & was sacked by (defensive lineman) DeShawn Williams for a 7-yard loss. After a punt, Sanders had runs of 7 & 3 yards to earn a 1st down.

Young completed a 6-yard pass to Thielen, then Hubbard ran for a yard. On 3rd & 3, Young completed an 8-yard pass to Sanders for a 1st down. Sanders earned another one with an 11-yard run. After Blackshear ran for no gain, Young completed an 11-yard pass to Sanders. Hubbard 3 consecutive times, forcing a 4th & 1. Young completed a 11-yard pass to (tight end) Tommy Tremble to set up 1st & goal at the 10-yard line of Indianapolis. 

After throwing an incomplete pass, Hubbard ran for 5 yards. Young completed a 5-yard touchdown pass to (wide receiver) DJ Chark. Piñeiro made the extra point. Minshew completed a pass to Pittman Jr. for 14 yards. After Taylor ran for no gain, Minshew completed an 11-yard pass to McKenzie. After Tayloor ran for no gain, again, Minshew threw 2 consecutive passes, forcing a punt. Sanders had an 11-yard run to start the drive. Hubbard ran for 3rd, then Young completed a 6-yard pass to Thielen. The quarter ended with a false start.

In the fourth quarter, they were called for another false start. Young completed a 48-yard pass to Hurst. After Sanders ran for 2 yards, Moore II had another “pick 6” off of Young, this time returning the ball 60 yards for a touchdown. Gay made his 3rd extra point. Young completed a 3-yard pass to Sanders & a 4-yard pass to Chark, before he got a 1st down with a 6-yard run. Young had a pass of 1 yard to hubbard, an incomplete pass, & a 4-yard pass to Hubbard.

On a 4th & 5, Young ran for 13 yards. Young completed a 9-yard pass to Sullivan, then threw an incomplete pass. Hubbard earned the 1 yard needed for another 1st down. Young threw 2 incomplete passes, before completing a 3-yard pass to Sullivan. Piñeiro made a 49-yard field goal. Minshew threw 2 consecutive 2-yards passes to Pittman Jr., then they earned the 1st down via penalty, as (defensive lineman) Derrick Brown was called for roughing the passer.

Moss ran for a yard, then Taylor lost it on the next play. After Minshew threw an incomplete pass, it was time to punt. Young completed a 4-yard pass to Hubbard. On the next play, (Colts linebacker) Segun Olubi intercepted Young. The Colts had Taylor run 3 times in a row (no gain, 1 yard, & 6 yards). All it lead to was the Colts punting. Young completed consecutive 7-yard passes to Thielen.

Colts

After an incomplete pass, Young completed a pass to Tremble for 1 yard, but (defensive lineman) Adetomiwa Adebawore sacked him for a 9-yard loss, as we hit the 2-minute warning. Young tried to run, but the only got 12 out of the 17 yards needed. With a few kneel downs, the Colts would be victorious 27-13.

For the Panthers, Young completed 24 out of 39 passes for 173 yards, a touchdown, & 3 interceptions. Hubbard ran 16 times for 58 yards. Hurst had 2 catches for 54 yards. Williams had the only sack for the defense. The Panthers have very little time to rest & recover. They have to go to Soldier Field on Thursday to play the Chicago Bears (who lost to the New Orleans Saints, 24-17).

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