RUN OFFENSE: A -- No Stephen Davis? No problem. After coach John Fox pulled Davis out of the game after the veteran suffered a bruised right forearm, DeShaun Foster picked up the slack and ran for 85 yards on 16 carries, a 5.3-yard average. With his speed, Foster is the perfect complement to Davis and was able to reach the outside on several occasions where Davis might have had trouble getting there. Davis had 76 yards on 15 carries before team trainer Ryan Vermillion hid the back's helmet so he wouldn't go back into the game. That came after Davis fumbled on a play when he shouldn't have been in the game. The Panthers finished with 189 yards on 41 carries, a 4.6-yard average.
PASS OFFENSE: C-plus -- Jake Delhomme hooked up with Steve Smith on a 52-yard touchdown pass to give Carolina a lead in the third quarter. Delhomme finished 12 of 20 for 181 yards and a touchdown and threw one interception. He wasn't perfect, but he did well enough to get the job done. Steve Smith became the first Panther this year to go over 100 receiving yards, finishing with 103 yards on six receptions. Carolina's offensive line surrendered three sacks after surrendering none the past two weeks.
RUN DEFENSE: B-plus -- The Panthers held the Colts to 76 yards on 27 carries and forced two Ricky Williams fumbles. The Panthers' safeties played well off the ball and forced the Colts to run the ball and to throw underneath the coverage. "We stayed deep and we were making those guys stay conservative," said safety Mike Minter. "We were staying over those guys and making them check it down and make our linebackers chase them down and make some plays."
PASS DEFENSE: B-minus -- Peyton Manning entered the game as the league's hottest quarterback and he completed 23 of 34 passes for 293 yards with one touchdown and one interception. Up until the final drive of regulation, the Panthers had held Manning out of the end zone, but then allowed the Colts to drive the length of the field and tie the game on a 27-yard touchdown pass to Reggie Wayne. Along the way, the Panthers also gave up a first down on fourth-and-4 when they had the Colts backed up to their own 15. Marvin Harrison had eight catches for 119 yards for the Colts, but didn't score. For the second straight game, the Panthers did not have a sack. Still, it was a pretty decent game considering Manning had thrown for a combined eight touchdown passes in the previous two games.
SPECIAL TEAMS: B-plus -- John Kasay knocked home another game-winning 47-yard field goal to lift the Panthers to the overtime victory. He also beat Tampa Bay on the road earlier this season with a 47-yard field goal in overtime. Kasay is a perfect 13-for-13 in field goals this season. The Panthers nearly lost the game when Rod Smart fumbled the opening kickoff in overtime, but credit Brian Allen with fighting for the ball underneath the pile. The Panthers then drove for the winning field goal. Steve Smith, the NFC's leading punt returner, was outstanding again on punt returns, averaging 20.3 yard per return. Carolina's coverage teams held the Colts in check.
COACHING: A -- Give the Panthers' coaches some credit for sticking with their game plan and running the football in the second half. The Panthers were down 13-3 but didn't panic. After being held to 20 yards on 10 carries in the first half, the Panthers had 31 carries for 169 yards in the second half. Defensively, Carolina dared the Colts to beat them on the ground and Indianapolis, playing without running back Edgerrin James, simply couldn't do it. This has to go down as one of the biggest wins in team history. The Panthers are 5-0 for the first time and seem well on their way to making the playoffs for the first time since 1996. But the road doesn't get any easier. The Panthers return home this week to face the Tennessee Titans, who drubbed the Houston Texans 38-17. Steve McNair threw for 421 yards and three touchdowns to lead the Titans to a win.