Packers: Tom Oates gives Green Bay overall grade of ‘C’ in loss at Carolina
Aaron Rodgers threw three interceptions, but he played fearlessly and gave the Packers a chance to win in the face of a ferocious fourth-quarter pass rush. Davante Adams was outstanding until a blindside hit put him out of the game. Randall Cobb stepped up in a big way. Aaron Jones is a terific change-of-pace back.
The defense stiffened after Carolina’s opening touchdown drive but faltered in the second half, allowing three long touchdown drives. Cam Newton threw four touchdown passes and worked the middle of the field with Christian McCaffrey and Greg Olsen. Damarious Randall limited Devin Funchess to one catch for 19 yards.
Special teams: B
Marwin Evans recovered the onside kick at the end, giving the Packers one final shot. Mason Crosby’s knuckleball made it hard for McCaffrey to recover the onside kick. Justin Vogel was 2-for-2 at pinning the Panthers inside the 15. Trevor Davis’ 13-yard up-the-field punt return led to a touchdown.
Mike McCarthy calling a keeper for Rodgers on a key fourth-and-1 was brilliant. Not sure why Jones only carried the ball once in the second half. The Packers played Joe Thomas over Jake Ryan to better cover McCaffrey, but it wasn’t effective. Dom Capers simply couldn’t manufacture a pass rush.
Rodgers energized the team and the Packers went down fighting, but their season basically ended when Geronimo Allison fumbled to end a potential tying drive. In the end, not even Rodgers’ presence could overcome the defensive deficiencies, especially in a game where Green Bay had four turnovers.