Carolina Panthers (8-0) 37, Green Bay Packers (6-2) 29
Sunday November 8th 2015 (at Charlotte)
GAME RECAP (UNITED PRESS)
(CHARLOTTE) - Cam Newton was determined to protect the Carolina Panthers' house on Sunday at all costs. That meant the fifth-year quarterback tearing down a large Green Bay Packers banner before the game that was hanging over the inside wall of the stadium - and later taking down the Packers by throwing for three touchdowns and running for another in a 37-29 win. Newton threw for 297 yards as the Panthers (8-0) took an important step toward securing home-field advantage throughout the NFC playoffs. Every other NFC team has at least two losses, including the Packers (6-2). Carolina has now won 12 straight regular-season games, including seven straight at home. ''There was a Green Bay banner in Bank of America Stadium - and that just doesn't match,'' Newton said. ''... We take pride in having an edge and playing in Bank of America Stadium and playing in front of the Carolinas every week, and it's something that I feel it was my due diligence to protect'' the stadium. Carolina led by 23 points in the fourth quarter before Aaron Rodgers rallied Green Bay and nearly gave the Packers a chance to extend the game into overtime. Rodgers threw for 369 yards and four TDs, but couldn't take advantage of one of Newton's few mistakes: an interception with 3:38 left in the game that gave the Packers the ball at the Carolina 22. Down by 8, Rodgers fourth-and-goal pass from the Carolina 4 was intercepted by linebacker Thomas Davis. It capped a frustrating day for the Packers. Rodgers was so annoyed he threw his tablet on the ground on the sideline after watching the replay. ''We had an opportunity for a pitch-and-catch touchdown, and I got scared by something,'' Rodgers said. ''I can't explain. It was a mistake for me, and something I'll think about on the ride home. I don't know who was in my face; all I know is I had Randall (Cobb) wide open for a touchdown.'' Earlier in the game, Julius Peppers refused to give the ball back to Newton after the quarterback scored a touchdown, instead electing to toss the ball down the field in the opposite direction. Newton retrieved the ball and gave it to a fan. And, down by 37-14 in the fourth quarter, Ha Ha Clinton-Dix began jawing at Peppers, who was seated on the bench. Peppers stood up and talked back before B.J. Raji stepped in, shoving Clinton-Dix backward. ''It doesn't concern me,'' Packers coach Mike McCarthy said. ''It's football. Things happen on the sidelines. It's a product of us not playing to our standard. Sometimes things like that happen. I have no concerns.'' It was the second straight game the Panthers nearly surrendered a commanding fourth quarter lead. Carolina lost a 17-point lead on Monday night to Indianapolis before rallying to win 29-26 in overtime. ''We make it tough, I don't know why,'' Panthers tight end Greg Olsen said. ''It's almost like we like torturing ourselves.'' Coach Ron Rivera said the Panthers can't put themselves in that position. ''When you have somebody down you have to make plays and put them away,'' Rivera said. Carolina outscored Green Bay 24-0 in the second period to open a 27-7 halftime lead behind three Newton scores. The dual-threat quarterback was dominant in the first half, throwing for 209 yards and two touchdowns and rushing for 37 yards and another score. The Packers opened the game in man coverage and Newton made them pay right away by finding huge holes to run through for big gains. Carolina also had a bevy of big plays in the passing game. Carolina's first score was set up by a 59-yard pass to Jerricho Cotchery. Newton gave Carolina the lead for good at 10-7 with a 52-yard pass to rookie Devin Funchess leading to a 7-yard TD pass to Greg Olsen. Later, he came back with a 39-yard touchdown strike to Philly Brown with 41 seconds left in the half. He also scored his 38th career TD rushing in the first half, moving into a tie for second place all-time among quarterbacks with Kordell Stewart. Only Steve Young (43) has more. Newton repeatedly went after rookie cornerback Damarious Randall, and the Panthers, despite playing without top defensive end Charles Johnson, kept pressure on Rodgers all day. Still, Rodgers wouldn't give in. His 29-yard TD pass to James Starks and a 2-point conversion toss to Davante Adams cut the lead to 15. Then, on fourth-and-14, Rodgers rolled to his left evading three pass rushers and fired over the middle on the run to James Jones for a 36-yard completion to keep Green Bay's hopes alive. Rodgers completed the drive with 3-yard pass to Richard Rodgers, his second touchdown of the game, to cut the lead to 37-29. ''He is a first ballot Hall of Fame quarterback who doesn't quit,'' Rivera said.
NOTES: The Panthers sacked Rodgers five times...The Panthers ran for 130 yards, marking the 19th straight game they have gained at least 100 yards on the ground...Eddie Lacy was a nonfactor and left with an ankle injury. He had 10 yards on five carries.
                         GREEN BAY      CAROLINA
First downs                     21            20
Rushes-yards                 19-71        36-130
Net Passing yards              331           297
Passing (Att-Comp-Int)     48-25-1       30-15-1
Sacked-Yards Lost             5-38           0-0
Punts-Average               8-44.6        6-48.2
Fumbles                        2-1           0-0
Penalties-Yards               7-87          6-45
Time of Possession           27:48         32:12
GREEN BAY -  7   0   7  15  - 29
CAROLINA  -  3  24   3   7  - 37
1st - CAR - Graham Gano, 20-yard field goal CAROLINA 3-0
​1st - GB - Richard Rodgers, 1-yard pass from Aaron Rodgers (Mason Crosby kick) GREEN BAY 7-3
2nd - CAR - Cam Newton, 1-yard run (Gano kick) CAROLINA 10-7
2nd - CAR - Greg Olsen, 7-yard pass from Newton (Gano kick) CAROLINA 17-7
2nd - CAR - Gano, 49-yard field goal CAROLINA 20-7
2nd - CAR - Corey Brown, 39-yard pass from Newton (Gano kick) CAROLINA 27-7
3rd - GB - Randall Cobb, 53-yard pass from Rodgers (Crosby kick) CAROLINA 27-14
3rd - CAR - Gano, 22-yard field goal CAROLINA 30-14
4th - CAR - Devin Funchness, 14-yard pass from Newton (Gano kick) CAROLINA 37-14
4th - GB - James Starks, 29-yard pass from Rodgers (Adams pass from Rodgers) CAROLINA 37-22
4th - GB - R.Rodgers, 3-yard pass from Rodgers (Crosby kick) CAROLINA 37-29
INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS
RUSHING
GREEN BAY - James Starks 10-39, Aaron Rodgers 4-22, Eddie Lacy 5-10
CAROLINA - Jonathan Stewart 20-66, Cam Newton 9-57 1 TD, Fozzy Whitaker 2-13, Mike Tolbert 2-7, Joe Webb 1-(-1), Corey Brown 1-(-12)
PASSING
GREEN BAY - Aaron Rodgers 48-25-369 4 TD 1 INT
CAROLINA - Cam Newton 30-15-297 3 TD 1 INT
RECEIVING
GREEN BAY - Davante Adams 7-93, James Starks 6-83 1 TD, Richard Rodgers 5-19 2 TD, Randall Cobb 4-99 1 TD, James Jones 2-57, Aaron Ripowski 1-18
CAROLINA - Greg Olsen 4-66 1 TD, Jerricho Cotchery 3-82, Devin Funchness 3-71 1 TD, Corey Brown 2-50 1 TD, Ted Ginn Jr. 1-20, Ed Dickson 1-6, Jonathan Stewart 1-2
Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) and the rest of the offense rests on the bench in the last seconds of the fourth quarter after an interception by the Panthers. Image credit: Rick Wood
Panthers linebacker Thomas Davis picks off an Aaron Rodgers pass on 4th and goal at the 4 as Packers guard T.J. Lang watches the drive end. Image credit: Rick Wood
NFC NORTH DIVISION STANDINGS
GREEN BAY    6   2   0   .750   203  167
Minnesota    6   2   0   .750   168  140
Chicago      3   5   0   .375   162  221
Detroit      1   7   0   .125   149  245
AROUND THE NFC NORTH
Sunday November 8th
MINNESOTA 21, St. Louis 18 (OT) - Adrian Peterson rushed for 125 yards on 29 carries for Minnesota, helping set up Blair Walsh's 40-yard field goal in overtime that lifted the Vikings a 21-18 victory over the St. Louis Rams on Sunday after quarterback Teddy Bridgewater left with a concussion. In a predictably grind-it-out game between two similarly constructed teams, the Vikings (6-2) ended Todd Gurley's streak of games with 125-plus yards rushing at four. Gurley gained 89 yards and a touchdown on 24 attempts for the Rams (4-4), who received the overtime kickoff but went three-and-out. Marcus Sherels tiptoed along the sideline for a 26-yard return of Johnny Hekker's 63-yard punt, and Peterson ran the ball well into Walsh's range to give the Vikings their seventh straight win at home.
Monday November 9th
Chicago 22, SAN DIEGO 19 - Zach Miller made a one-handed grab of a 25-yard touchdown pass from Jay Cutler with 3:19 to go, and the Chicago Bears beat the San Diego Chargers 22-19 on Monday night. Cutler, who overcame an interception return for a touchdown and a fumble to throw for 345 yards, calmly led the Bears on the winning 10-play, 80-yard drive after the Chargers had taken a 19-14 lead on rookie Josh Lambo's 22-yard field goal. Miller made a leaping grab with his right hand and scored. Rookie Jeremy Langford, subbing for the injured Matt Forte, ran in the 2-point conversion. Cutler's two TD passes broke the franchise record, giving him 139 with the Bears. He had been tied with Hall of Famer Sid Luckman. The Bears (3-5) snapped a two-game losing streak. San Diego (2-7) lost its fifth straight.
Bye: Detroit