Packers vs. Panthers: First Impressions
1. After a sluggish start, falling behind 13-0, the Green Bay Packers answered with 23 straight points and held on to win 30-23 with another déjà vu finish. Donald Driver recovered an offside kick that essentially ended the game, just like week one. The Packers are 2-0.
2. This was an ugly, sloppy Packers win. The team overcame a horrible first quarter, a fumbled kickoff return, numerous on-field communication breakdowns, a dropped touchdown pass, seven penalties, and a failed fourth-down conversion near midfield before halftime.
3. Carolina quarterback Cam Newton’s 485 total yards are inexcusable for an elite Packers defense — if they are elite. After giving up 400 yards passing for the second week in a row, it’s clear the Packers defense needs to get their act together. Yet, while the Packers defense struggled to contain Newton, they shut down the Panthers’ running game, holding Carolina to 18 yards on 11 carries.
4. In the end, the Packers won because the defense, despite their many breakdowns, held the Panthers to two of six in the red zone, got four takeaways, and four sacks.
5. The Packers’ red zone offense was equally appalling, going one for four.
6. The big playmakers on defense and offense were the difference in the game. On defense, cornerback Charles Woodson had two interceptions and a fumble recovery. Safety Morgan Burnett had six tackles, an interception and a forced fumble. On offense, tight end Jermichael Finley had five catches for 68 yards. Receiver Greg Jennings had two big catches for 55 yards and a touchdown, and receiver Jordy Nelson had a big touchdown catch.
7. Although the offense struggled, the Packers had a balanced attack with 124 rushing yards and 296 passing yards. The rushing leader was James Starks, with nine carries for 85 yards, an average of 9.4 yards per carry.
8. The turning point in the game happened with three minutes left. The Panthers had a fourth and 4 from Green Bay’s 6. Newton scrambled up the middle, but Clay Matthews stopped him for only a two yards gain. On the next offensive series, Rodgers hit Nelson for a big touchdown to the put game away.
9. Although the Packers officially registered four sacks, the pass rush is still anemic. The defense shows no consistent pressure. The Packers defense simply failed to win most of their one-on-one battles.
10. According to the Packers, safety Nick Collins: “has normal feeling and complete movement in his extremities. As is standard protocol, he will be kept in the hospital overnight for observation. When he returns to Green Bay, he will undergo further testing and evaluation.”
11. Packers wide receiver Donald Driver had a 10-yard catch, becoming the Packers’ all-time leader with 9,666 receiving yards.