Gameday Live Blog / Open Thread: Panthers at Packers
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It's almost time for kickoff at Lambeau Field for the game between the Carolina Panthers (5-3) and the Green Bay Packers (7-2). Green Bay leads the all-time series 9-6, although Carolina has won the last two meetings -- including a 31-24 win on Dec. 17, 2017 in Charlotte. The Panthers last win in Green Bay was a 35-31 victory on Nov. 30, 2008. It's 32 degrees and cloudy.
- Wide receiver and return specialist Greg Dortch is listed as inactive. Dortch, an all-American from Wake Forest, made his NFL debut during last week's win over the Tennessee Titans. He returned two kicks for 52 yards -- including a long of 32 yards -- and a pair of punts for 11 total yards.
- Both teams have a lot to play for, with things tightening up in the NFC North and Carolina still overcoming its 0-2 start. But a lot of pregame chatter has focused on each team's candidate for league MVP. Green Bay's Aaron Rodgers struggled during last week's loss at the Los Angeles Chargers, going 23-35 for 161 yards and a touchdown with a quarterback rating of 85.5. Still for the season Rodgers has thrown for 276.1 yards a game and 17 TD against only two interceptions with 104.4 rating. Carolina's Christian McCaffrey has a league-leading 1,244 scrimmage yards (881 yards and 10 touchdowns rushing; 42 receptions, 363 yards and three touchdowns receiving). McCaffrey has rushed for 100 yards or more in each of the last two games while scoring at least one touchdown in six straight.
- Panthers receive. Starting at the Carolina 37.
- Lots riding on this game teamwise, as well. Things have tightened up in the NFC North for Green Bay, while Carolina continues to make up for its 0-2 start. The Packers would be a third seed if the NFC playoffs were to begin today, while Carolina is currently eighth (behind the Rams).
- DJ Moore back to field Green Bay's first punt. Again, no Greg Dortch active today. Fair catch. Good field position.
- Excellent protection of Allen so far. Has time for DJ Moore to come completely across field, hit him for 38 yards at right sideline. First down at Packers 15.
- Allen finds Curtis Samuel with a short out for a 2-yard touchdown. Panthers lead 7-0, 7:18 remaining in first quarter. Drive lasted 5 plays, 53 yards, and 2:34 of game clock.
- Packers moving the ball thanks to a pass interference penalty, but also some savvy playcalling. Green Bay smartly moving Rodgers in and out of the pocket, including a nifty bootleg pass left for a first down that put the Packers at the Carolina 40.
- Sure enough Rodgers moves around and completes a pass, then stands tall in pocket to hit Adams across middle. Packers first and goal from the Carolina 5.
- Jones rolls up middle for a TD. Game tied, 3:35 left in first quarter.
- And snow flurries have arrived ...
- Christian McCaffrey around the left side for 18 yards, longest run today by either team.
- Oh, hi, Greg Olsen. First target comes at about 1-minute mark in first quarter, catches it for 16 yards.
- Fourth down and three as first quarter ends. Waiting to see if Riverboat Ron is in the house ...
END OF FIRST QUARTER
Packers 7, Panthers 7
- Slye drills a 50-yarder. Panthers start second quarter by taking 10-7 lead.
- Addison couldn't bring Rodgers down, but still forced incomplete pass. Will be interesting what happens if Addison gets a sack today.
- Panthers' D holds. Another good starting spot after a 32-yard punt, will begin drive at their own 45.
- Meanwhile, in Phoenix ...
- Allen slips trying to hand it off, fumbles, Green Bay ball at midfield.
- Seventh fumble for Allen, fourth lost.
- Rodgers threads a pass to Adams down right sideline with Cockrell in what seemed like perfect coverage. Thirty-seven-yard gain. First and goal from the Panthers' 10.
- Jones' second effort get him in for a 1-yard touchdown. Packers lead 14-10, 9:26 left in second quarter.
- That was Jones' second rushing TD today and his 10th this season. He's tied with Carolina's Christian McCaffrey for the NFL lead.
- Panthers offense moving the ball. An 18-yard catch-and-run by Olsen puts Carolina at the Green Bay 44. All five possessions have crossed midfield for Carolina.
- Moving the ball into Green Bay territory hasn't been a problem -- getting points, however, has been problematic. Preston Smith with a sack of Allen leads to a punt. Smith abused left tackle Dennis Daley en route to Allen.
- Panthers have Packers looking at 3 and 13 from its own 7. Defense staying at home, keeping gap responsibility and staying in lanes.
- McCoy flagged for roughing the passer as Rodgers threw the ball away. Completely changes things. Packers were looking at fourth and 13 and punting out of own end zone, now first down at its 22.
- Packers capitalize: Rodgers hits Jimmy Graham open in the middle of the field, on 3rd and 6 for a 48-yard gain. First and 10 at Carolina 26.
- Drive continues. First and goal from Carolina 2, with 19 seconds left in first half.
- Rodgers finds Graham at the left pylon for a TD that's overturned because didn't get both feet down.
- Offensive pass interference on next play has Green Bay mulling for it with two seconds remaining in the half. Packers use final timeout.
- Packers going for it.
McCoy, who was called for that penalty way back when, absolutely swallows up Williams as he took the handoff. Drive stopped, half over.
HALFTIME Packers 14, Panthers 10
- Panthers' defense made a huge stop to end the half. But the bulk of the first two quarters saw Carolina fall prey to its own aggression. Green Bay's misdirection caused the Panthers to not stay at home defensively, not maintain gap responsibility and to sway from their lanes.
- Carolina has had excellent starting position most of the game and all five of its drives have crossed midfield. Yet the Panthers only have 10 points thanks to an inability to convert third-down opportunities (1 of 4) and a Kyle Allen fumble.
- Each team has been flagged four times, but all four of the penalties called on Carolina have resulted in first downs for Green Bay. Some have been questionable (such as the penalty for roughing the passer that was called on McCoy), but still an area to tighten up.
- Speaking of Allen, he's been quietly efficient if not especially productive. He's 11 of 13 for 107 yards and a touchdown with a rating of 126.6.
- The numbers are somewhat muted for Christian McCaffrey, who has 40 yards on nine carries while catching all three of his targets for 11 yards. Carolina must find ways to get him touches in the second half.
- Packers get the ball as the flurries fall. Touchback.
- Vernon Butler sacks Aaron Rodgers on the first play of the second half, also first sack of Rodgers today.
- But then this ...
- And two plays later Aaron Jones scores from 13 yards out. Packers lead 21-10, 11:50 left in third quarter.
- Drive was five plays, 75 yards, 3:10 of game time. Jones' 14th touchdown of the season, tops in the NFL.
- Panthers haven't had the ball in a long time. The last two Packers' drives totaled 18 plays, 161 yards, 8:17 elapsed of game time. And, of course, halftime was sandwiched in between.
- Plenty of opportunity to warm up -- drive so far is eight-plays long. Olsen catch for 15 yards gives Carolina 1st down at the Green Bay 11.
- Drive stopped. Pass intended for Wright picked off by Williams in the end zone.
- Panthers with a chance for a stop, 3rd and 10 from their 22.
- And pass interference called on Cockrell in the end zone while defending Adams. Green Bay replaying third down after Rivera accepted the penalty to get 10 yards. Could've declined and made it fourth down.
- Rodgers with lots of time to throw before is brought down by McCoy at the line. Packers to try a field goal.
- Crosby short on 52-yard field goal try -- but a flag is down ...
- Illegal formation on defense. Ball moved five yards closer. Crosby makes 47-yarder to put Packers up 24-10 with 1:21 remaining in the third quarter.
- McCaffrey with a 14-yard run up the middle on second down. First down from the Carolina 32. So promising look at getting some momentum -- until Allen is sacked. And -- as has been Carolina's luck today -- with a holding penalty.
END OF THIRD QUARTER
Packers 24, Panthers 10
- Panthers start fourth quarter 2nd and 18 from its 24. Allen hits Olsen for 15 yards and a first down.
- Here's how the day has gone: After scoring on two of their first three drives, the Panthers have fumbled, punt, and had a passed intercepted. Incredibly all three drives ended in Green Bay territory.
- Big drive by Panthers. McCaffrey 3-yard TD run and 2-point toss to Olsen make it a one-score and 2-point game.
- Defense also stepping up with a stop of Green Bay at the Carolina 49. Moore fair catch at Carolina 8 with 9:17 remaining.
- Five plays and out after Allen is sacked. Green Bay turning up some defensive pressure. Carolina punt gives it to the Packers at the Green Bay 42.
- Rodgers looking smooth even under pressure. Has moved Packers to Carolina 45 in three plays. There's 4:17 left.
- What looked promising to finish things off has started squeaking for Green Bay. Panthers have forced a 4th and 3 from the Carolina 38. Moore makes fair catch at Carolina 11. There's 2:25 remaining.
- First pass to Samuel for 15 yards to Carolina 26. Out of bounds, 2:19 left.
- Snow coming down harder, field getting slippery.
- Incomplete pass that was nearly packed, McCaffrey eight yards on carry through left side of the line. Third and two at Panthers 34, two minutes remaining.
- Seven-yard pass to Moore for first down. Moore's third career 100-yard game.
- Pass left to McCaffrey, a big 18-yarder to the right for Olsen and its first and 10 at the Green Bay 34. Career catch 699 for Olsen.
- There's No. 700 to Olsen. Was for 5 yards to Green Bay 34. Then No. 701 to Green Bay 25. Has eight catches and 98 yards. Has caught eight of 10 targets.
- Fourth and 10, 56 seconds left at the Green Bay 25. Panthers call time out -- then Green Bay calls time out.
- Meanwhile ...
- Allen hits Moore for 12 yards to Green Bay 13. First down.
- Carolina takes final time out, 3rd and 10 at Green Bay 13 with 19 seconds left.
- Neutral zone infraction on Green Bay. Carolina ball at Packers 5.
- Allen incomplete through back of end zone on 3rd and 1.
- Incomplete attempt to McCaffrey, but defensive holding. Two-yards, first and goal from Green Bay 4-yard line. There's eight second left.
- Allen gives to McCaffrey up middle, just short. Review proves it. Game over.
Packers 24, Panthers 16 FINAL