NFL Preseason Week 1 Game Recap: Indianapolis Colts 21, Carolina Panthers 18

Indianapolis Colts quarterback Jacob Eason (9) throws the ball on Sunday, Aug. 15, 2021, during a pre-season game between the Indianapolis Colts and the Carolina Panthers at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. Finals 8

After a slow start, Sam Ehlinger and company led the Indianapolis Colts to a slow-bleed comeback over the Carolina Panthers from down 15-3. The game ultimately ended with an Eddy Pineiro 30-yard field goal capping off a 21-18 Colts win. Let’s take a look at how we got there.

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Eason Lets it Rip — Even though he failed to lead any touchdown drives, Jacob Eason showed tons of reasons for optimism. He’s always had a cannon for an arm, but that hasn’t always led to downfield success. Against the Panthers, however, Eason went 3-for-4 on targets 15-plus yards past the line of scrimmage, including this gorgeous dime to Parris Campbell.

Eason was still antsy under pressure, unfortunately. He only went 1-for-3 for 5 yards on five pressured dropbacks with two sacks, including a blindside fumble. 

P.J. Walker -> Terrace Marshall — P.J. Walker was once again a playmaking highlight machine. It started with a 59-yard completion on a busted coverage to rookie Terrace Marshall:

It continued with a touchdown to another rookie, Tommy Tremble, after Walker broke the pocket:

If the Sam Darnold experiment doesn’t work out, the Panthers have a wholly capable backup. 

XFL to NFL — Kenny Robinson was the forgotten man in the 2020 Panthers draft class. He played all of six snaps in 2020 after starring in the XFL early last spring. Robinson could now be fighting for a starting safety job. He picked off his lone target on the day when Ehlinger was late to a crosser. 

Robinson added a stop in the run game and even made a big hit on special teams to cap off his outstanding performance.

Panthers Defensive Line — Carolina had a number of standout performances along its defensive line in this one. Marquis Haynes, Yetur Gross-Matos and Kendall Donnerson all had multiple pressures, while Frank Herron added multiple run stops. For one of the youngest defenses in the NFL, seeing growth from youngsters is key.


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