Panthers claim wild overtime victory to remain unbeaten

Reuters News
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Posted: Nov 03, 2015 1:02 AM

(The Sports Xchange) - Carolina kicker Graham Gano atoned for a missed extra point by kicking a game-winning 52-yard field goal in overtime as the Panthers stayed unbeaten by defeating the Indianapolis Colts 29-26 on Monday.

After the teams traded overtime field goals, Carolina linebacker Luke Kuechly's interception of Andrew Luck gave the Panthers the ball at the Colts' 39 in the sudden-death portion of the extra session and Gano did the rest.

The Colts had earlier wiped out a 17-point deficit in the last 7:04 of regulation as Luck suddenly got untracked before Adam Vinatieri's 50-yard field goal on the opening possession of overtime put the visitors in position for an unlikely win.

The Panthers matched it when Gano connected on a 42-yard field goal at a rainy Bank of America Stadium.

The Carolina possession included a dropped pass by wide receiver Ted Ginn Jr that would have, at the very least, taken the ball inside the 10-yard line.

Quarterback Cam Newton clicked on a couple of second-half drives, putting Carolina 23-6 up before the Colts came storming back.

Newton threw two touchdown passes in less than a five-minute span as the Panthers continued their best start in franchise history by improving to 7-0.

Still trailing 23-20, the Colts regained possession at their own 40 with 2:02 remaining and out of timeouts. Luck's next three passes were incomplete before a fourth-down conversion. After that, the Colts moved methodically to the six-yard line.

Vinatieri's 24-yard field goal tied the game on the last play of regulation, completing a 16-play possession.

Gano's missed extra point proved costly following Carolina's last touchdown.

Carolina has won a franchise-record 11 consecutive regular-season games dating to last season. The Panthers have matched last year's regular-season victory total when they went 7-8-1, which was good enough to win the NFC South.

Newton finished 16-of-35 for 248 yards. He was picked off once.

Luck completed 23-of-47 passes for 232 yards for the Colts (3-5), who lost their third game in a row. Through three quarters, he had only 40 passing yards and was intercepted twice.

(Editing by John O'Brien)