Perfect Ending For The Carolina Panthers As They Down Green Bay

The Carolina Panthers did the impossible. They beat the Green Bay Packers 37-29 at Bank of America Stadium. The win kept the Panthers perfect, as they downed Green Bay, to make the playoff race a little more interesting.

Leading by 23 points in the fourth quarter against the Green Bay Packers, the Panthers had a late-game scare for a second consecutive week. But this time, Carolina didn’t need overtime to get the win. The close victory came six days after the Panthers beat Indianapolis 29-26 in overtime on Monday night. On a short week, the Panthers came out sharp and crisp, but faded as the game progressed.

Perfect Ending
[Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images]
With the Panthers moving their record to 8-0, it becomes the best record in the history of the franchise. It’s starting to look like the NFC Championship may have to go through the Panthers and B of A stadium.

Once again, Cam Newton had an up-and-down day. He was 15-of-30 for 297 yards and three touchdowns. Though the Panthers struggled late in the game, he made plays to help the team hold on and win. Newton ended the game with a sparkling 104.5 passer rating. The Panthers outscored Green Bay 24-0 in the second period to open a 27-7 halftime lead.

The Panthers seemed like the perfect set up for the Packers to get back on track. Rodgers was coming off a horrendous game, and the Black and Blue were playing after a short week. But the Panthers’ defense was able to pressure Rodgers when it needed to and kept him off-balance. The Panthers defense allowed Rodgers to air it out for 369 yards and four touchdowns.

Cam Newton’s fourth-quarter pick was nearly the story of this memorable showdown. Clinging to a 37-29 advantage – after leading 37-14 – the Panthers’ passer tossed an ill-advised lob that landed in the hands of Packers cornerback Damarious Randall, giving Green Bay the ball at the Carolina 22 with 3:38 to play.

Perfect Ending
{Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images]

The Panthers defense stiffened and didn’t allow the Packers to score. Just when it seemed like Rodgers was pulling his MVP card on Carolina, they denied him entrance to the club. With the Pack needing a touchdown to tie, Rodgers threw an interception on fourth down near the goal line with 1:54 left in the game. Thomas Davis made the leaping interception to seal the game.

Though Newton had a few bad moments during the game, Panthers’ head coach Ron Rivera wasn’t overly critical.

“He did some really good things and had some good moments,” Rivera said, via The Charlotte Observer. “I promise you there’s only one throw he’d like to have back.”

The Panthers did something that many people said they couldn’t do. They beat a team with a winning record. They have beaten the powerhouse teams on their schedule and are looking like the team to beat in the NFC.

“We make it tough, I don’t know why,” Panthers’ tight end Greg Olsen said. “It’s almost like we like torturing ourselves.”

The Panthers are quickly becoming the team that teams thought they could be. Even though they make a few mistakes, the correct the mishaps and find a way to win. The wins are making the errors easy to swallow, but the mistakes are starting to take a toll. Rivera doesn’t like the last-minute heroics so much.

“The ebbs and flows are most definitely getting to all of us. I know they are getting to me. We have to learn to finish better. We can’t make it this exciting.”

It seems like the Panthers are doing a good job of putting fear into their opponents. Aaron Rodgers admitted something scared him, per ESPN.

“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 wide open for a touchdown.”

The Panthers are making teams nervous.

{Feature Photo by Grant Halverson / Getty Images]

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