Carolina Panthers fall to Indianapolis Colts 21-18 in first test of the backups
When the Carolina Panthers took the field for their first preseason contest of the 2021 season, it was quarterback PJ Walker's opportunity to refresh the minds of the coaching staff on why he should be the backup going into the season. Walker turned in a 21/10 performance that garnered 161 yards and touchdown. That effort also included a 60-yard connection to Terrace Marshall Jr. to set up the team's first score.
That performance, however, was hampered a bit by the offensive line. There were seven penalties for 49 yards in the first half - mostly attributed to miscues by the men up front. After two quarters, the Panthers led the Colts 15-10 despite only keeping the ball for 12:29 in the first half. The points on the board came from Joey Slye's field goals (4/5 on the day) and a 7-yard touchdown pass from PJ Walker to Tremble. The area that still looks like it will need to be worked on is the red zone
Chuba Hubbard's went 7/80 on the ground to lead all carriers. Head coach Matt Rhule was encouraged but not quite satisfied.
The defense saw some bright spots in the first half including a Sean Chandler tackle for loss which ed to the Panthers' first scoring drive. But it was a significant falloff in the second half against the Colts' rushing attack.
The second half saw a less stellar performance by Will Grier who only had one completion and failed to produce points in the third quarter.
The Panthers managed to let the Colts get back into the fight and tie the game 18-18 going into the fourth quarter. But the field goal by the Colts' kicker Eddy Pineiro sealed the 21-18 victory for Indianapolis.
The biggest casualty of the afternoon was cornerback Troy Pride jr. who went down in the fourth quarter with a lower leg injury.
With roster eliminations looming, the Panthers return to Spartanburg to prepare for joint practices and their next game with the Baltimore Ravens Aug. 21.