Colts/Panthers Notebook: Giving Up Short Fields Continue To Haunt Colts

Intro: In the Colts/Panthers Week Eight notebook, we take a look at the slew of short fields the Colts defense had to face on Monday night, the craziness that took place in Charlotte and what the AFC South looks like through half the season.

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CHARLOTTE – The term "football weather" sure made things entertaining on Monday night in Charlotte.

With constant rain throughout the first half on Monday, both teams trudged their way through the first 30 minutes before some late fireworks.

Here's a notebook look at the Colts losing their third straight game of 2015:

Short Fields The Difference On Monday Night

It was a byproduct of the four Colts turnovers that ultimately was the undoing for Indianapolis on Monday night.

Whether it was the Panthers first drive of the night or their 16th and final one, short fields all game long led to 26 of Carolina's 29 points.

After the 29-26 loss, Andrew Luck knew he had his defense to thank for allowing the Colts to construct the 17-point fourth-quarter comeback.

"They did a heck of a job all day," Luck said of the Colts defense.

"They kept us in it. They gave us a chance to win."

Of the Panthers' six scoring drives against the Colts, five of them began at the Indianapolis 39-yard line or closer.

Four of those five drives that started on the Colts side of the field came off offensive turnovers.

Playing on the road, against one of the top defenses in the NFL, the Colts put themselves into far too many situations on Monday with the odds stacked significantly against them.

For the third straight week, the Colts were left trying to compile a final-quarter comeback from more than a score down.

"We just need to get a win," Adam Vinatieri said after the loss.

"Winning is contagious, losing is contagious. We just need to go out there and just do a little bit more. Winning solves a lot of issues. We've played tight, tough games against some really good teams so far this year. We just have to figure out how to win that game, and when we start doing that, things will change."**

Weather Leads To Wild Night In Charlotte**

The rain that was supposed to let up by kickoff on Monday night took its sweet time to move out of the Charlotte area.

The elements were a major factor with a steady downpour throughout the first half on Monday night.

In the first two quarters on Monday, the teams combined for four fumbles and two interceptions.

"It was tough on both quarterbacks early on from a weather standpoint and trying to throw the football," Pagano said after the game.

At halftime, Luck was just 4-of-10 for 37 yards and an interception.

Newton was 6-of-17 for 88 yards and a pick in the first 30 minutes.

The weather did improve as the game carried on and the offense for both teams finally found some rhythm.

Despite all the ebbs and flows from Monday night it was a Colts post-game locker room left pondering what-ifs, on the doorstep of a win they so desperately needed.

"I'm angry right now, but at the end of the day I have to put this behind me and get ready for Denver next week," Mike Adams said.

"We have to keep moving forward and one thing we have to do is find a way to win. That's going to be my line (tonight), because you're going to hear me say that a lot---we need to find a way to win."**

Photos from the Monday Night Football game against the Carolina Panthers

Indianapolis, Houston Both Atop AFC South At 3-5 Record

**A three-game losing streak has finally brought the Colts back to the pack in the AFC South.

At 3-5, the Colts and Texans are tied atop the division with Indianapolis holding the early tiebreaker thanks to their Week Five win in Houston.

The Texans 20-6 win over the Titans on Sunday also marked the end of Ken Whisenhunt's two seasons in Nashville.

Whisenhunt was fired on Tuesday morning after a 3-20 record with the Titans.

With Houston on a bye this coming week, the Colts must knock off the undefeated Denver Broncos to keep their position at the top of the AFC South.

"(3-5) is not where we want to be, but it is not the end of the world," Pagano said after Monday's loss.

"We can still accomplish all of our goals. The number one goal is to win the division, win the next game. We have to get to number four. Everything is still out there for us."**

Colts/Panthers Snap Counts**

  • The wide receiver snaps on Monday went as followed: T.Y. Hilton (80-of-86), Donte Moncrief (79-of-86), Andre Johnson (67-of-80), and Griff Whalen (10-of-80).
  • The running back reps were led by Frank Gore (56 of 80). Ahmad Bradshaw played 28 snaps in his third game with the Colts this season.
  • At tight end, the snaps were divided up with Coby Fleener receiving 59 snaps. Dwayne Allen logged 44 snaps. Jack Doyle played 7.
  • Safety Dwight Lowery, Mike Adams and inside linebacker D'Qwell Jackson played all 75 snaps on Monday night.
  • In his second start this season, Robert Mathis played 54 of the defense's 75 snaps (his highest percentage of 2015).
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