Julius Peppers' return to form in Carolina's preseason opener didn't allow Jake Delhomme much of a chance to test his surgically repaired right elbow in the Panthers' 23-20 overtime win over Indianapolis on Saturday night.
Peyton Manning's continued absence may put Colts backup Jim Sorgi's cushy job in danger.
Starting his second straight game as Manning recovers from knee surgery, Sorgi lost a fumble and threw an interception on the Colts' first two possessions Saturday under constant pressure from Peppers.
DeAngelo Williams converted both miscues into touchdown runs, finishing with nine carries for 55 yards.
After a miserable 2 1/2-sack season in 2007, Peppers had a sack, a forced fumble and quarterback hurry to give the Panthers the ball inside the 20 on their first two possessions. In his first game after undergoing ligament-replacement surgery in October, Delhomme threw just one pass, an incompletion in the end zone.
He was replaced by Matt Moore on Carolina's third possession.
Well after the starters left, a botched snap prevented John Kasay from attempting a 27-yard field goal on the final play of regulation. Kasay then missed a 50-yard field goal on the first possession of OT before finally connecting from 46 yards with 3:53 left.
Sorgi, who has played little the past four seasons as the two-time league MVP Manning racked up the second-longest starts streak behind Brett Favre, finally had some success on the third possession. He connected three times with eight-time Pro Bowl receiver Marvin Harrison, making his preseason debut following knee surgery.
But after the drive stalled and Adam Vinatieri kicked a 42-yard field goal, newly signed Jared Lorenzen shined in Sorgi's place. Lorenzen, contending to be Manning's backup after three seasons with the New York Giants, completed 12 of 23 passes for 117 yards and two touchdowns to Jacob Tamme.
Quinn Gray, the Colts' third QB, threw two interceptions as the Colts (0-2) lost for the 14th time in 16 preseason games.
It was an impressive debut for the Panthers, who showed no hangover from the training camp fight in which receiver Steve Smith broke cornerback Ken Lucas' nose.
With Lucas still sidelined, Smith drew cheers from the home crowd when he made his only catch, a leaping 19-yard grab over the middle. Smith, who was suspended for the first two regular-season games, twice pounded his chest and pointed to the sky.
Peppers, whose three-year streak of Pro Bowl selections was snapped after he was nearly invisible last season, dominated Colts left tackle Tony Ugoh early. His sack forced Sorgi to fumble and Carolina's Charles Johnson recovered.
On the second possession, Peppers hurried Sorgi, and his forced pass was deflected by Gary Gibson and intercepted by Adam Seward. Williams' TD runs of 1 and 10 yards after both turnovers put Carolina ahead 14-0.
The poor early field position didn't give the Colts' defense much of a chance despite the return of middle linebacker Gary Brackett, who had four tackles after missing the Hall of Fame Game loss to Washington on Sunday with a groin injury.
Both sides were missing key players. The Colts were without 16 players, including Dwight Freeney and Bob Sanders. The Panthers played without defensive starters Lucas, Chris Gamble, Chris Harris, Jon Beason and Damione Lewis.
First-round pick Jonathan Stewart also sat out following his offseason toe surgery. It allowed Williams to take the early lead in the competition to replace last year's starter, DeShaun Foster.
Notes:@ Sorgi was 6-of-9 for 65 yards. ... Rhys Lloyd, signed to be Carolina's kickoff specialist, put his first three into the end zone for touchbacks. ... Colts LB Ramon Guzman had a 31-yard fumble return. ... Panthers S Joe Fields intercepted Gray on fourth-and-2 from the Carolina 10 early in the fourth quarter. ... S Quinton Teal later picked off Gray.