An early mistake by Colts center Jonotthan Harrison allowed the home side possession of the ball deep in the visitors' territory, but Ron Rivera's men could only put three points on the board through Graham Gano.
Indianapolis quarterback Andrew Luck was then intercepted by Charles Tillman, putting the home team back in the Colts' half. The Panthers went for it twice on fourth down to advance to the goal-line before Jonathan Stewart crashed over for the touchdown.
Chuck Pagano's team got back into the game through a field goal from Adam Vinatieri from 47 yards, while a fumble from Stewart presented the visitors with a chance to level the scores before the break.
However, the Carolina defense made a stand to hold the Colts to a field goal as Vinatieri brought his side within four points as he kicked over from 34 yards to leave the score at 10-6 at half time.