INDIANAPOLIS -- The Carolina Panthers finally found somewhere they could pull out a victory on the road: Indianapolis, home of the winless Colts.
DeAngelo Williams ran for two touchdowns and Cam Newton added another, leading the Panthers to a 27-19 win Sunday, their first outside of Charlotte in nearly two years.
"This is something we can build off of, use as a springboard as we go forward," coach Ron Rivera said. "It's not where you are now -- it's where you're headed."
The Panthers (3-8) last won on the road Dec. 27, 2009, beating the New York Giants 41-9.
Williams rushed 15 times for 69 yards. Jonathan Stewart ran 10 times for 70 yards, and Newton finished with nine carries for 53 yards. The Panthers piled up a season-high 201 yards rushing, averaging 5.7 yards per carry and controlling the ball for more than 36 minutes.
It was just what the Panthers needed after blowing a double-digit lead at Detroit last week.
"Looking at records, we didn't want to put our guard down," Newton said. "I'm proud of this team, how we kept battling."
After losing their last four games by a combined 137-27, the Colts finally scored an offensive touchdown early in the second quarter, ending a nine-quarter drought. Dwight Freeney recorded his first sack since Oct. 9, and, in the final minutes, Indy had two chances to force overtime. Both ended with interceptions in the end zone.
"At least we put ourselves in position to win it in the second half," said Curtis Painter, who was 15 of 29 for 226 yards with one TD and the two interceptions. "But we were in it. We had a shot at the end, just came up a little short."
Newton was 20 of 27 for 208 yards, and Steve Smith caught three passes for 68 to top the 1,000-yard mark. But the Panthers wore down Indy's defense with run after run.
In the final quarter, the Panthers kept giving themselves what seemed like a comfortable cushion against the NFL's lone winless team only for the Colts to rally.
Williams scored his second touchdown early in the fourth to make it 24-13. Painter then hooked up with Reggie Wayne, who slipped a tackle in the middle of the field, turned left and sprinted into the end zone for a 56-yard TD. The 2-point conversion pass failed, making it 24-19.
Carolina answered with Kealoha Pilares' 81-yard kickoff return, which led to a 41-yard field goal.
Car-FG Mare 40, 4:07.
Car-Newton 14 run (Mare kick), 14:03.
Ind-D.Brown 17 run (Vinatieri kick), 12:08.
Ind-FG Vinatieri 43, 1:46.
Car-D.Williams 25 run (Mare kick), 9:13.
Ind-FG Vinatieri 31, :32.
Car-D.Williams 2 run (Mare kick), 10:23.
Ind-Wayne 56 pass from Painter (pass failed), 8:16.
Car-FG Mare 41, 5:53.
RUSHING-Carolina, Stewart 10-70, D.Williams 15-69, Newton 9-53, Smith 1-9. Ind, D.Brown 14-80, Addai 7-23, Garcon 2-2.
PASSING-Carolina, Newton 20-27-0-208. Indianapolis, Painter 15-29-2-226.
RECEIVING-Carolina, LaFell 5-46, Smith 3-68, Shockey 3-41, Olsen 3-24, Naanee 3-17, Stewart 3-12. Indianapolis, Wayne 5-122, Garcon 3-34, Collie 3-28, Tamme 2-20, D.Brown 1-17, Mahaffey 1-5.
MISSED FG-Carolina, Mare 45 (BK).