Five takeaways from Rivera press conference

1. RIVERA LIKES THE WR GROUP: The pundits suggested Carolina should target a wide receiver before Tuesday's trade deadline, but head coach Ron Rivera reaffirmed his comfort level with his wide receivers following the Panthers' seventh consecutive victory to start the season.

"I'm very pleased with our group," Rivera said. "I think our group is progressing very well. Occasionally, (Ted Ginn, Jr.) will miss an opportunity, but he'll come right back and make a play.

"I'm pleased with (Jerricho Cotchery). I know we want to see (rookie Devin Funchess) hurry up, but it's a matter of time. Philly (Brown) has been tremendous. (Brenton) Bersin is just a solid guy whenever you need him out there.

"I like the group. I think you couple that with our tight end group and our ability to run the football and the threat of our quarterback. All together I like where we are, I like the formula."

2. REWORKED O-LINE BATTLED THROUGH UPS AND DOWNS: The Panthers knew they were shorthanded when All-Pro center Ryan Kalil was ruled out prior to kickoff Monday. Then they lost guard Andrew Norwell to a hamstring injury after four plays.

Fernando Velsaco filled in at center, and guards Amini Silatolu (52 snaps) and Chris Scott (22 snaps) filled the void at guard. Rivera felt the entire line struggled to establish consistency but appreciated the effort from the backups asked to step forward in challenging weather conditions.

"Real pleased with what Amini Silatolu did when he had opportunities," Rivera said. "He played very, very physical and was aggressive.

"I thought Fernando had a good week of preparation, and it showed. He made great calls and put himself in position to not give anything up. He did some nice things in terms of checking protection."

3. LOOKING FOR MORE FROM PASS RUSH: Indianapolis compiled just 136 yards on their first 12 possessions. But In their final three possessions of regulation, the Colts produced three scoring drives that totaled 197 yards.

What changed?

"The quarterback got the ball out a little earlier," Rivera explained. "Then, when he did hold onto the ball, we didn't get the pressure we needed to in the pass rush. That was one of the big things that was disappointing – our pass rush wasn't as consistent as it had been, especially in a situation where you know they are going to throw it. You'd like to be able to cut it loose."

It's not easy for pass rushers to cut it loose when heavy rain is falling, but Rivera credited the Colts offensive line for giving quarterback Andrew Luck time to make plays downfield.

"You go to make a counter move and a lot of guys were on the ground," Rivera said. "It was a combination of things, but I don't want to take away credit from Andrew Luck and that offensive line. They did a nice job."

4. COLTS PAID SPECIAL ATTENTION TO DAVIS, SHORT: Linebacker Thomas Davis and defensive tackle Kawann Short, the NFC Defensive Player of the Month, had been piling up the production in recent weeks.

The Colts were well aware, and Rivera felt Indianapolis' offensive game plan worked to minimize the collective impact of Davis and Short, who finished with two tackles apiece.

"Look at how many times when Thomas was up at the line they redirected," Rivera said. "When you watch KK they had at least two guys on him. They really had a plan to try to limit those two guys."

Linebacker Luke Kuechly (14 tackles) and defensive linemen Kony Ealy (five tackles, one sack) and Star Lotulelei were a few of the beneficiaries of the increased attention paid to Davis and Short.

"You can't account for everybody," Rivera said. "That's pretty much what happened."

5. TOTAL CONFIDENCE IN GANO: If quarterback Cam Newton's 5-yard pass to Jerricho Cotchery fell incomplete, would Rivera still have sent kicker Graham Gano onto the field for a 57-yard game-winner in overtime?

Yes indeed.

"Still try the kick," Rivera said. "The way he's been kicking the ball in practice has been tremendous. I know he missed the extra point and a lot of us weren't happy about that. But there was a look in his eye that just said, 'OK, I'm OK with it.' Kickers are different, we all know that. There is confidence that he exudes that makes you think he's going to hit this one."

View the top photos by team photographer Melissa Melvin-Rodriguez from Carolina's game against Indianapolis.

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