Carolina Panthers vs. Green Bay Packers : 2014 Game 7 (Packers 38 Panthers 17)
As always, this post it what it says it is, unfiltered initial reactions as the game progresses. I always find it entertaining to compare initial impressions from the heat of the moment with more measured thoughts with time to think about it. Everything is up for discussion.
While last week’s tie between the Panthers and Cincinnati Bengals went a full overtime period, it still bears mentioning that Panthers quarterback Cam Newton carried the ball himself 17 times for over 100 yards. Cincinnati’s defense hasn’t been great this year, but that should give all indications that we’ll see plenty of the pistol today against a Packers defense that has struggled to stop the run.
The hunt for red hot October. The Packers have won nine straight October games and three straight this season.
Panthers WR Kelvin Benjamin is active after suffering a concussion last week. The Packers counter with the activation of cornerback Tramon Williams after he had an ankle injury last week against the Dolphins. Packers linebacker Jamari Lattimore is also active after a neck stinger he endured while the Panthers get running back Jonathan Stewart back.
Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers has not thrown an interception in his last five consecutive games. Not too shabby for a guy who takes too many risks with the ball, eh? Rodgers’ counterpart Cam Newton has just two interceptions this season, but one in each of his last two games after not throwing one in his first three appearances.
Today’s captains will be TE Andrew Quarless (offense), LB AJ Hawk (defense), DB Micah Hyde (special teams)
Inactives for today’s game:
Green Bay Packers
16 QB Scott Tolzien
37 CB Sam Shields
39 CB Demetri Goodson
54 LB Carl Bradford
72 C Garth Gerhart
83 WR Jeff Janis
95 DE Datone Jones
Starting lineup changes: #31 Davon House will start at cornerback for #37 Sam Shields; #93 DT Josh Boyd will start at left defensive end for #95 Datone Jones
14 QB Joe Webb
24 CB Josh Norman
25 CB Bene Benwikere
34 RB DeAngelo Williams
43 RB Fozzy Whittaker
66 G Amini Silatolu
93 LB Chase Blackburn
Win vs. Dolphins: Tend to forget every team is a new team and have to prepare differently for each. Once you win, have to find ways to continue to win. Previous wins help build momentum. Big challenge with Carolina Panthers today.
Injury to Shields and personnel changes: Tramon, Davon and Casey will determine our rep distribution today.
Packers offensive output: We’ve always set a goal of being a top three team in terms of scoring. Have had a few 50 points games. Time of possession is a point of focus. Fourth quarter is biggest challenge. Most critical time of the game is the last few series.
Panthers this season vs. last season, Cam Newton: He runs differently than everyone else. He runs inside instead of strictly outside. QB power plays are unique. Part of the challenge. Other part is he can throw it anywhere on the field. Outstanding football player.
Cam dangerous on short yardage: Absolutely a focus. He’s going to have the ball in his hands in crucial situations.
Against read option, wrinkles from Carolina: They have the full game, ability to get receivers going. Hard to determine tendencies because they have a lot of options with their backs and receivers.
Luke Kuechly, middle linebackers: Definitely need to know where they are. Have to be aware of where they are. Luke makes a bunch of tackles. Very solid football player.
Panthers vs. Packers- First Impressions – First Half:
Jeff Triplette and his crew are officiating this game. God help us.
Finally the hard count works. Draws Kuechly offsides on third down to give the Packers a short try to convert.
Rodgers continues his hot streak and play-making ways. Draws defense offsides, runs for a first down and throws a perfect ball to Nelson for a long touchdown on consecutive plays.
Rodgers seems to have Nelson on the stick route all day today. Converts it a third time. Lacy around right end for the touchdown run.
It’s official, the Packers have a two-headed monster at running back. James Starks with a rather nifty 15-yard touchdown run to put the Pack up 21-0.
About as good of a start as the Packers could have asked for.
Score at end of 1st quarter: GB 21 CAR 0
Panthers are killing themselves with penalties and Cam just isn’t sharp today. Second bad overthrow of the day.
Ha Ha Clinton-Dix wraps up well. If nothing else, a sure tackler the Packers haven’t had in a while
Aaron Rodgers is having his way today. Extends the play like only he can and finds Cobb crossing for a long gain (and some beautiful downfield blocking by Richard Rodgers and Nelson). Then runs around left end for a long first down. This is fun to watch.
Nice to see the Packers breaking the tackles for a change.
Packers defense rotating well and getting pressure on Cam, who has to stick in and throw it with such a deficit. Offense helped the defense quite a bit in building this lead and taking away Cam’s legs.
Rodgers taking the check down today and getting some small gains. Hoping he likes it enough to keep it in his arsenal.
Packers trying to prevent the big play and Carolina dinks and dunks their way to a field goal at the end of the half. Will get the ball to start the second half and have been very good in the back half of games this season.
Score at end of 1st half: GB 28 CAR 3
Panthers vs. Packers – First Impressions – Second Half:
Panthers come out firing and go for it on 4th and 1 just in side Packers’ territory. Packers defense holds and a review confirms. Packers ball.
A nice completion to Adams over the middle and Adams surprised to see open space and a half-hearted effort by Panthers defenders. Scampers into the end zone for another score.
Peppers with a sack on Cam. . and against his former team. Forgot about that angle until just now. Must have been all the green & gold fireworks so far.
The rotation up front for the Packers defense is really working well.
Matthews just misses a sack for a sizeable loss, Newton escapes and Matthews sticks with pursuit. The lack of “production” is not for a lack of effort. He’s creating for others. The Peppers sack was the result of Matthews getting there first.
For those who accuse Mike McCarthy of not keeping his foot on the gas, he challenges a down-by-contact ruling on a potential fumble. Call stands. As good as a timeout.
Greg Olsen seems to have his best games against the Packers.
More bad Cam today, an off-target pass picked off by Hayward. Hayward’s second interception in as many weeks.
An Eddie Lacy spin move sighting
Panthers star linebacker Luke Kuechly ejected from the game for shoving a referee although it could easily have been a flag on Richard Rodgers just prior. Jeff Triplette’s crew.
Score at end of 3rd quarter: GB 38 CAR 3
Packers not helping their case to improve their run defense as Jonathan Stewart mows through on several consecutive carries.
Triplette’s crew trying their best to get more camera time, call taunting on Clay Matthews after he shoves Cam’s leg to the ground following a sack. Make up call for the Kuechly ejection?
Flynn in at quarterback with nine minutes left. Probably a good decision. Derek Anderson in for the Panthers.
More sloppy play, as expected with second and third units in. More offsetting penalties. Triplette and his crew have not been very sharp in calling this one.
Bostick drops an easy one in the flat. That’s why he’s not on the field on offense.
Hopefully no lingering injuries from this one and get ready for a big one next week in New Orleans!
Final Score: GB 38 CAR 17
This was a complete game by the Packers for three quarters and until they threw in their depth. If they can do this the rest of the way, they will be tough to beat.
Run defense started to break down in the third quarter. Fortunately the score made it a non story but they have to find ways to stop good running attacks.
The pass rush has been much improved this season and I’m not sure it’s getting the credit it deserves. That’s one area that will help the Packers continue to create turnovers.
Speaking of turnovers, another interception today for the NFL’s leading Packers secondary.
Safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix gets better and better every week. Morgan Burnett is joining the party as well. Elevates the entire defense.
Aaron Rodgers is in a zone and no one else is there with him. Nor should there be. Ever since he asked us all to R-E-L-A-X, we have been able to sit back and do just that.
Jason Perone is an independent sports blogger writing about the Packers on AllGreenBayPackers.comFollow Jason Perone: