Wrap-up: Panthers 27, Colts 19

Thoughts on the Carolina Panthers’ 27-19 victory against the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday at Lucas Oil Field.

What it means: You can diminish this win by saying it came against the worst team in the NFL. But any win is important for Carolina these days. This was the first win for the Panthers in more than a month. That’s significant, because the Panthers need to build some positive momentum the rest of the season to show that coach Ron Rivera and his young team are making progress. At 3-9, the Panthers need to use the rest of this season to build for next year. This was a start.

Note to Rivera and offensive coordinator Rob Chudzinski: See what happens when you use DeAngelo Williams? He had a 25-yard touchdown run in the third quarter and a short touchdown run in the fourth. The Panthers certainly have done a nice job of improving their passing offense. But Chudzinski and Rivera need to remember they’ve got two very good running backs in Williams and Jonathan Stewart. Aside from receiver Steve Smith, Williams is the most explosive player on the offense. The Panthers need to remember that and keep Williams involved.

What I liked: The Panthers got second-year receiver Brandon LaFell more involved in the offense. That’s great. LaFell has had a pretty quiet career to this point. But he has some talent, and his size theoretically should make him a nice complement to Steve Smith.

What else I liked: Carolina’s defense played one of its better games of the season. Yeah, it came against an Indianapolis offense that’s not very good without Peyton Manning. But the Panthers have played so badly on defense most of the season that any sign of improvement is encouraging.

What’s next: The Panthers travel to Tampa Bay to play the Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium next Sunday.