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Kenny Moore salvages secondary with two pick-6s in Colts 27-13 win over Panthers

Indianapolis leads the NFL with 55 tackles for loss this season and each starter on the front line managed to wrap up Bryce Young in Week 9.

Indianapolis Colts v Carolina Panthers Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images

Kenny Moore II seized the moments to capitalize on rookie mistakes, scoring two pick-sixes to snap the Indianapolis Colts three-game skid in Sunday’s 27-13 win over the Carolina Panthers.

Moore became the first player in franchise history to return two interceptions for touchdowns in a single game. With eight tackles, two interceptions and two passes defended, Moore made a strong case for AFC Defensive Player of the Week. Indianapolis (4-5) remains the only team to score 20 points in every game, while Carolina (1-7) has yet to score 20 points at Bank of America Stadium this season, averaging just 14.5 points per game at home.

The Colts allowed a league-worst 114 points in a stretch of three consecutive losses, but passed its test against former coach Frank Reich and Carolina’s No. 1 overall pick Bryce Young. Indianapolis leads the NFL with 55 tackles for loss this season and each starter on the front line managed to wrap up Young during the Week 9 victory.

DeForest Buckner ripped through the A-gap to corral Young on third down and recorded his fifth sack this season. Kwity Paye and Eric Johnson II mauled Young together early in the second quarter, then Dayo Odeyingbo and Adetomiwa Adebawore both secured a sack in the second half.

Carolina went three-and-out on its first four possessions, gaining 10 total net yards as the Colts hurried the rookie quarterback on seven of his first eight drop backs. Shaquille Leonard increased his franchise-leading double-digit tackle games to 26, leading the Colts with 10 tackles in absence of NFL’s leading tackler Zaire Franklin.

Panthers’ Eku Leota lined up offside on fourth-&-1, which gave the Colts a new set of downs in the first quarter. Gardner Minshew scrambled and ran for another first down, plus drew a late hit for an extra 15 yards. Indianapolis’ offense was stifled with goal-to-go, which set up a 26-yard field goal for Colts kicker Matt Gay to give the Colts a 3-0 lead. The Panthers defensive stop marked the first red zone stop in the last 13 opportunities, allowing an NFL-worst 21 touchdowns against 28 red zone drives this season.

An unnecessary roughness penalty gifted the Colts a first down inside the red zone after Panthers’ safety Xavier Woods launched himself to lay a hit stick on Michael Pittman Jr. Indianapolis extended the lead to 10-0 two plays later as running back Jonathan Taylor burst upfield on a designed screen to corkscrew his way across the goal line.

After Matt Gay drilled a 57-yarder to extend the lead, Young lofted an errant pass intended for Chubba Hubbard and Moore picked it off at midfield and returned the interception to the house to increase the Colts lead to 20-3 before halftime.

Carolina scored its first third-quarter touchdown this season after Young orchestrated a 15-play, 77-yard scoring drive, ultimately reaching the end zone with a 5-yard TD pass to D.J. Chark. Young led the Panthers downfield inside Colts territory on the next drive before his second costly mistake, sailing a screen pass over the head of Miles Sanders and into the arms of Moore for his second pick-six of the game. Young was picked off for a third time late in the fourth quarter as Segun Olubi jumped the pass to seal the road win.

Indianapolis’ offense was bounded to nine drives, punting away each of its first four drives in the second half before finishing in victory formation. The Colts remain on their road trip and fly overseas to Germany in Week 10 for an international battle against the New England Patriots.