CHARLOTTE, N.C. – The Green Bay Packers lose their second game in a row despite a strong fourth quarter comeback to the Carolina Panthers 29-37. The Packers are now 6-2 and are tied with the Minnesota Vikings for first place in the NFC North.
Coming into the game the Packers’ biggest challenge was MVP candidate quarterback Cam Newton’s effective pass and running attack, especially with the injuries of cornerbacks Sam Shields and Quinten Rollins. The Panthers also have a top ten defense and which the Packers struggled last week to score against the Denver Broncos’ top rank defense. Aaron Rodgers managed to pass for a season-high 369 yards and four touchdowns but most of that didn’t come until late in the game when the team was far behind after Newton passed for 297 yards and three touchdowns.
The Panthers started the game with the ball and Newton showcased both of his abilities connecting on a 23-yard pass to his tight-end Greg Olsen and running the ball himself for another 23 yards to get into the shadow of Green Bay’s goal line. The Packers’ defense made a stand and the Panthers had to settle on a 20 yard Graham Gano field goal to take a 3-0 lead.
The Packers’ offense couldn’t respond going three and out in the next drive which included Rodgers getting sacked by defensive tackle Star Lotulelei. The Panthers likewise went three and out in their next drive also.
The Packers offense got it going in the ensuing drive with Rodgers hitting his fullback Aaron Ripkowski with an 18-yard pass and his receiver Davante Adams with a 13-yard pass. The drive would end with tight-end Richard Rodgers catching a one yard touchdown pass to give the Packers the lead. The first quarter ended with a 7-3 Packers lead.
The Panthers matched the Packers in the next drive with Newton completing a 59-yard pass to his wide open receiver Jerricho Cotchery on a long third down. A 14-yard run by running back Jonathan Stewart got the Panthers to the goal line and Newton took it himself for one yard to give the Panthers a 10-7 lead.
After another Packers’ three and out, the Newton aired it out 52 yards to receiver Devin Funchess to get to the red zone. The drive would end with a seven yard touchdown pass to Olsen to give the Panthers a 17-7 lead.
The Packers would continue their strain of three and outs forcing to punt again to Carolina. Newton connected with Cotchery for 16 yards to put the Panthers in field goal range. The Packers defense would then force a fourth down, making the Panthers settle on a 49-yard field goal giving the Panthers a 20-7 lead.
Eddie Lacy fumbled on the ensuing Packers’ drive and again the Panthers capitalized when Newton threw a 39-yard touchdown to his receiver Corey Brown. The Panthers would have a 27-7 lead to end the first half.
The Packers would begin the second half with a bang when Rodgers threw a 53 yard touchdown to receiver Randall Cobb to cut the deficit to 13. The Panthers would respond with a seven minute drive that only ended with a 22-yard field goal to give Carolina a 30-14 lead.
Much like the first half the Packers after the first drive in the third quarter couldn’t get a first down forcing them to give the Panthers the ball back and this continued until the early stages of the fourth quarter when Newton threw a 14-yard touchdown to Funchess to give the Panthers a 37-14 lead.
The Packers would quickly get it somewhat together behind Rodgers and running back James Starks who first caught a 30-yard pass and then a 29-yard touchdown pass. A successful two point conversion would cut the Packers’ deficit to 15.
The Packers’ would force a three and out, in which Green Bay would capitalize. On fourth down Rodgers threw a desperation heave and receiver James Jones miraculously caught for 36 yards to bring the Packers into the red zone. After a 17-yard catch by Starks the Packers would cap off the drive with a three yard pass to Richard Rodgers to cut Green Bay’s deficit to only eight points.
On the first play of the ensuing Panthers’ drive Newton decided to throw the ball and it was intercepted by rookie cornerback Damarious Randall to give the Packers good field position with three and a half minutes left. The Packers would drive the ball to Carolina’s goal line but Rodgers could not find a receiver in four downs, throwing an interception to linebacker Thomas Davis. With under two minutes left and no timeouts the Panthers would run the clock out to win the game 37-29.
Next week, the Packers look to get back on track as they face the one-win Detroit Lions back in Lambeau Field. The Panthers travel to Nashville to play the Tennessee Titans.
Other NFL scores
Cincinnati Bengals’ quarterback and dark-horse NFL MVP candidate Andy Dalton threw for 234 yards and three touchdowns to lead the Bengals to a 31-10 victory over the Cleveland Browns.
The New York Jets got 272 passing yards and two scoring tosses from quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick, including a key fourth-quarter TD pass to receiver Brandon Marshall to hold off the Jacksonville Jaguars, 28-23. Interesting factoid: Fitzpatrick has now beaten the Jaguars with five different teams, becoming the first quarterback in NFL history to beat a franchise with five different ones.
Denver Broncos’ quarterback Peyton Manning lost against his former team again, as Indianapolis Colts’ quarterback Andrew Luck threw for 252 yards and two scores, and kicker Adam Vinatieri nailed a field goal with under three minutes left. The Broncos had a chance to get the ball back late, but two key penalties, including one on cornerback Aqib Talib after he poked Colts’ tight end Dwayne Allen in the eye, gave the home squad two late first downs, allowing them to ice the game. Talib is receiving a one-game suspension for the act.
The Philadelphia Eagles needed a bit of extra time, but they pulled through when quarterback Sam Bradford threw his only touchdown pass in overtime to receiver Jordan Matthews on the first possession to win, 33-27. Cowboys’ receiver Cole Beasley caught two touchdown passes.
A tight, defensive battle that also went into overtime was won by the Minnesota Vikings over the St. Louis Rams, 21-18, on a field goal by Vikings’ kicker Blair Walsh. The victory was bittersweet for Minnesota, however, as quarterback Teddy Bridgewater was hit late by Rams’ defensive back Lamarcus Joyner and suffered a concussion. Vikings’ running back Adrian Peterson rushed for 125 yards and one score.
The New England Patriots had a 14-0 lead after just one play by the Washington Redskins (a pass by quarterback Kirk Cousins was intercepted by Patriots’ defensive back Logan Ryan), and cruised to a 27-10 victory. Quarterback Tom Brady threw for 299 yards and two touchdowns.
Kicker Chris Boswell, a midseason pick-up, nailed a late field goal for the Pittsburgh Steelers to lift them to a 38-35 victory over the Oakland Raiders. However, like Minnesota, the Steelers lost their quarterback, only for them, it was the second time this season, as Ben Roethlisberger, who threw for 334 yards and two scores, went down with what appeared to be a serious left foot injury on a sack by Raiders’ linebacker Aldon Smith.
The New York Giants got a late fumble return for a touchdown by defensive back Trevin Wade as part of a 17-0 run to close out a 32-18 victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Kickers Josh Brown (Giants) and Connor Barth (Buccaneers) hit four field goals apiece and Giants’ quarterback Eli Manning threw for 213 yards and two touchdowns.
Buffalo Bills’ receiver Sammy Watkins caught eight passes for 168 yards and one score, and running back Karlos Williams added two more to help lead their team to a 33-17 victory over the Miami Dolphins. Dolphins’ running back Lamar Miller rushed for two touchdowns.
The Titans may be struggling this season, but the future looks bright at the quarterback position. Marcus Mariota continued his stellar play with 371 yards and four touchdown passes, including one in overtime to tight end Anthony Fasano to lift the Titans over the New Orleans Saints, 34-28. Saints’ quarterback Drew Brees threw for 387 yards and three scores, along with a rushing touchdown.
After a 6-0 start, the Atlanta Falcons appear to be reeling after losing their third consecutive game, this one to a San Francisco 49ers team that came in 1-6 and had just benched starting quarterback Colin Kaepernick for former Jaguars first-round draft pick Blaine Gabbert. Gabbert threw two touchdown passes to tight end Garrett Celek in the second quarter, a frame in which the 49ers scored all 17 of their points in a 17-16 victory.
An incredible 25-yard touchdown catch by reserve tight end Zach Miller lifted the Chicago Bears to a 22-19 victory over the San Diego Chargers. That was quarterback Jay Cutler’s second touchdown pass of the game to go along with 345 passing yards. Receiver Alshon Jeffery finished with 151 receiving yards on ten catches.
All stats and scores courtesy of CBSSports.com.