Carolina Panthers conceded crucial penalties
Two penalties on the other side of the ball handed the Indianapolis Colts seven points in the first half. This took away some pivotal momentum when the game was still close.
Eku Leota lined up offside on an Indianapolis punt after a good stop by Ejiro Evero's defense. The Colts took advantage of his costly mistake by putting a field goal on the board. That was not the only damaging penalty suffered by the Carolina Panthers en route to their seventh defeat in eight regular-season games this season.
In what seemed like a poor call by Bill Vinovich's officiating crew, veteran safety Xavier Woods was called for an unnecessary roughness penalty after hitting wide receiver Michael Pittman Jr. squarely in the chest. It ended up being a critical error in judgment.
Indianapolis took advantage and scored a touchdown shortly afterward. What seemed like a third down stop to force a field goal attempt turned into seven points instead - although blaming this loss on one suspect decision would be foolish.
At the end of the day, neither of these moments individually affected the outcome of the game. But the sequence of events on back-to-back defensive drives set Carolina back further than they wanted.
And they were unable to recover.