INDIANAPOLIS – The stretch was daunting in November and that's only been backed up with the calendar now reading February.
When the Colts faced the Panthers and Broncos in back-to-back games this past November, they became the fourth team in NFL history to have played teams with at least 6-0 records in consecutive weeks.
In a trip to Carolina and a home contest with the Broncos, which ended up being Andrew Luck's final game action of 2015, the Colts nearly ended both teams' undefeated seasons.
What happened in that Colts, 29-26, overtime loss to the Panthers?
-Mother Nature's Presence: This Monday night tilt was defined by buckets of rain in the first half. At halftime, former No. 1 picks Andrew Luck and Cam Newton were a combined 10-of-27 for 125 yards and two interceptions. The rain did let up in the second half, and the play showed it. The two teams still totaled five fumbles and four interceptions
-Colts Can't Overcome Short Fields: The sloppiness of this one contributed to many short fields, especially early on for the Panthers. Carolina turned in two first-quarter turnovers to a 10-point lead, forcing the Colts to play catch up the rest of the way. Only one of the Panthers' six scoring drives was longer than 37 yards. The Colts defense kept the offense in this one, allowing for a crazy fourth quarter.
-The Comeback: With weather improving, Luck and the Colts offense finally found a rhythm. Luck completed 18 of his final 31 passes for 191 yards. Touchdown passes to Andre Johnson and Coby Fleener cut the Panthers' 23-6 lead to just a three-point margin with 2:27 left. The Colts actually were on the doorstep of a possible game-winning touchdown at the final gun, before having to settle for a 24-yard field goal from Adam Vinatieri.
-Missed Overtime Opportunity: Quan Bray's kick return near midfield gave the Colts another promising chance to end this one at the start of overtime. However, the drive would stall and both teams traded field goals to start the extra period. The Colts' chance to Houdini their way to a victory then took a serious hit when Carolina linebacker Luke Kuechly picked Andrew Luck. A 52-yard field from Panthers' kicker Graham Gano sent the Colts to 3-5 and their first three-game losing streak under Chuck Pagano.
-Cam's Evening: An obvious Super Bowl storyline surrounds Cam Newton. Back in Week Eight, Newton was 16-of-35 for 248 yards, two touchdowns and one interception (in less than ideal conditions). Newton added 41 rushing yards on 10 carries. The Colts were able to make some one-on-one tackles in open space against Newton, a definite key for the Broncos on Sunday.
Highlights from INDvsCAR.