When the Indianapolis Colts drove to within 3 yards of a potential game-tying score Sunday, the Carolina Panthers easily could have said, “Here we go again.”
Instead, the Panthers responded with an emphatic, “Here we go!”
Charles Godfrey tipped a pass in the back of the end zone, and fellow safety Sherrod Martin corralled the ball just before stepping out of bounds to secure a 27-19 victory, the Panthers’ first road victory in 23 months.
“When things happen during the game, you have to put the bad things behind you and go on to the next play,” Martin said. “We’ve got to play together, got to stick together through the ups and downs, and that’s what we did today.”
As a result, Carolina (3-8) kept the Colts (0-11) winless while snapping a franchise-record 12-game road losing streak. They had last won away from home on Dec. 27, 2009, a 41-9 victory over the New York Giants.
“I give all respect to those guys in the room, because they’ve gone through so much,” Panthers head coach Ron Rivera said. “For us to get this one is important, and it’s something we hope we can build off of and use as a springboard as we go forward.”
It wasn’t as easy as it looked like it might be early. The Panthers broke out to a 10-0 lead and never trailed, but the success-starved Colts continued to make just enough plays to remain within range.
Carolina, however, always made the one play that kept Indianapolis at bay.
Just when it looked like the Panthers might win going away, taking a 24-13 lead on a beautiful 80-yard drive capped by running back DeAngelo Williams’ second rushing touchdown of the half, the Colts refused to go away.