Sunday, 22 July, 2018

Panthers hold off Packers, spoil Aaron Rodgers' return

Vikings Vikings Features Vikings Have Little Time to Relish Division Clincher By Sam Ekstrom- Decem Vikings Vikings Features Vikings Have Little Time to Relish Division Clincher By Sam Ekstrom- Decem
Domingo Copeland | 18 December, 2017, 03:51

The Carolina Panthers' Damiere Byrd catches a touchdown pass in the fourth quarter aagnst the Green Bay Packers on Sunday.

That's what Carolina Panthers QB Cam Newton did on Sunday, taunting the Green Bay Packers before throwing for a touchdown. Even if the Falcons lose on Monday, the Packers would need a miracle over the final two weeks to get in.

Not that the Packers didn't make it interesting.

The Carolina Panthers had a lot of off-field distractions hanging over them heading into Sunday's game.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. - An investigation by the National Football League into allegations that owner Jerry Richardson settled with at least four former employees for workplace misconduct.

The Packers had won two in a row by six points with Brett Hundley filling in for the injured Rodgers.

While Rodgers did show signs of rust throughout the game, he wasn't helped out by his teammates.

Rodgers' return alone was never going to be enough. But Mike McCarthy's team has fallen at the first hurdle. With the exception of his first touchdown pass, Rodgers made no throws that were distinctly him.

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Green Bay responded to lead 14-10 at half-time with Rodgers finding Davante Adams for a 13-yard touchdown and then Randall Cobb on a 33-yard score.

Rodgers also lost his best receiver. But the Packers' defense held, and Rodgers delivered a gem of a play before the half.

Rodgers fired right back with an 11-play, 75-yard drive of his own.

The Panthers trailed 14-10 at halftime, but Newton threw TD passes to Olsen and Byrd in the third quarter to give them a 24-14 lead.

But the Packers couldn't keep up defensively after regaining its composure a bit in the second quarter. Accounting for 60 yards off offense on Carolina's opening drive, capped off with the Panthers first touchdown of the afternoon. Two plays later, Rodgers was picked on a throw in traffic by the Panthers' Colin Jones. Was it a fumble, or should it have been an incomplete pass?

Defensively the Packers were exposed time and again. Rodgers threw on the run. and underthrew another receiver, this time airing the ball to James Bradberry. It was still a game, however, because the Panthers turned only one of Rodgers' picks into points.

Rodgers wasn't completely done. But he misfired on a 3rd-and-goal pass to Geronimo Allison and the Packers settled for a field goal, cutting the lead to 24-17. "That may be why they come in bunches because everyone turns their level of play up to another level".

Carolina gave Green Bay an opportunity to get back into the game with less than three minutes left. Green Bay's defensive coordinator is Dom Capers, who was the original coach of the Panthers.

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