Type to search

Packers vs. Panthers: First Impressions

Cam Newton

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.



  1. TyKo Steamboat September 18, 2011

    We were vanilla on defense (in a zone) to force SCam Newton to make mistakes…I liked McCarthy’s aggressive 4th down attempt before half…pray for Nick Collins…We will get Tramon WIlliams back soon…Charles Woodson still has ice-water in his veins

  2. Jeff September 18, 2011

    I’d say we are very lucky to be at 2-0 considering how poorly we’ve played on defense so far this season.

  3. Shawn September 18, 2011

    My first impression is terrible defense in the 1st quarter. Better after that. Newton was really sharp during their first 15 planned plays. It seemed like once they got outside of that, he started to struggle.

    Packers rarely blitzed and sat in coverage hoping for mistakes from Newton. It worked through much of the 2nd and 3rd quarters. The main defensive issue was the dump down to the RBs. Poor coverage and equally poor tackling, especially by the Packer LBs who were personas non grata.

    Field appeared to be a big factor. Was the grass grown longer to slow both teams? Both teams looked slow. This might have helped throw Rodgers off as his WRs weren’t getting off their cuts as fast.

    The offense had the chance to put the game away in the 3rd quarter when the Panthers made a load of mistakes, but the execution in the redzone was pathetic.

    Both coaches hurt their teams by refusing to run the football. Just because you get stopped on one play, doesn’t automatically mean you shouldn’t run the ball the next play. Yeah, Newton got over 400 yards, but about 80 of that came after the game was over. And damn the Panthers throw the ball a lot.

    James Starks only getting 9 carries is ridiculous.

    Props to the offense for finally putting it away at the end though. That was nice to see.

    Lasty, TERRIBLE officiating. Two horse-bleep Roughing the Passer calls and the holding calls seems strangely one-sided.

  4. Vijay September 18, 2011

    You could tell the first series was scripted for Carolina…which made sense. However, its somewhat alarming that there is no consistent pass rush from the line to help limit the down the field big play effectiveness of the opposing QB’s. Brees, I can understand…but Newton? C’mon…if we were a ‘dominant’ mid 90s Packer D, this kind of yardage would be inexcusable. This ‘going cheap and young’ strategy won’t win consecutive championships in this league – you can’t have holes on defense and lack defensive pressure.

    I want a 14-2 or 13-3 juggernaut (Packers 90s, Colts or Patriots 2000’s) with home-field advantage throughout and A Rod as my QB!

    1. iltarion September 19, 2011

      Vijay, there is nothing “cheap” about the Packers. They have one of the richest payrolls in the NFL. I don’t know how many times that has to be said for people to get it.

      I should expect this though. Now all the people who said the Packers would never win with their philosophy (who were made to look like idiots last year) will come back with a new rallying cry. The Packers will never win TWO championships with this strategy!!


  5. calipackfan September 18, 2011

    Don’t worry about more pass rush we will unleash our secret weapon soon real soon.

    1. TyKo Steamboat September 19, 2011


    2. TyKo Steamboat September 19, 2011


  6. Madcity Packer Fan September 19, 2011

    Wow we have A LOT of work to do! Allowing that much offense is sickning. We got the win thank god.

  7. nurseratchett September 19, 2011

    MM should have challenged the no touchdown call in the first half. I replayed & replayed & replayed it….looked like the knee was down before the ball came out. Also a little concerned that we chose not to use any time outs in the first half, especially when we had the ball with under 2 minutes to go…..oh well..


  8. Robydog September 19, 2011

    Is it just me, or did it seem that all the announcers saw or talked about was SCam Newton? Same thing this morning on the NFL Network. All they could talk about regarding the game was how many yards he threw for. They completely glossed over the three interceptions. I personally am getting tired of all the Newton hype, and it’s only the second game of the season.

    1. iltarion September 19, 2011

      Robydog, I should have included that in my comment because YES, the announcers were annoying as HELL.

      I believe there was a shot at halftime of Jim Mora Jr. giving Newton a “blow.”

    2. G-Mann September 19, 2011

      Mora’s lips were surgically attached to Newton’s backside.

    3. nurseratchett September 19, 2011

      Shit that’s all anyone can talk about today! The kid is playing pretty damn good, but there were other excellent games & players out there.


  9. packerfan2008 September 19, 2011

    packers defense is scaring me. apparently losing cullen jenkins had a lot bigger impact on the defense then initally thought. he is tearing shit up in philly…although tramon was out but still that is no excuse all owing that many yards by a rookie qb with barely any training camp. and with nick collins out now…it will prob be worse.

    btw…is anyone worried about drivers 9,”666″ yards? could this be a bad omen for the season?

  10. Robydog September 20, 2011

    Newton got the Carolina playbook the day he was drafted (before the lockout) and then spent several weeks training with Chris Weinke (former Carolina quarterback) in Florida. I heard Weinke explained a lot about the system and really helped him.