Packers get a gift, but can’t make it count

Darin Gantt

Aaron Rodgers is good enough to not need many breaks. When he gets one, he usually takes advantage.

But Panthers defensive tackle Gerald McCoy got a huge run-stop on the last play of the first half, allowing the Panthers to keep the Packers’ margin at 14-10.

The dramatic drive started when Rodgers got up from a sketchy roughing the passer call in the end zone. McCoy was called for the penalty, for landing with his body weight on the quarterback. But he didn’t, rolling as he fell and landing on his elbow.

Scroll to continue with content

Rodgers actually caught the penalty flag as it was thrown, and it appeared it might have been for grounding in the end zone. Then he started throwing things to others. He hit a wide-open Jimmy Graham for a 48-yard catch-and-run, after baiting Luke Kuechly into covering something that wasn’t there.

That’s when things got weird. An apparent touchdown to Graham was overturned on review, and a pass interference on the Panthers in the end zone gave the Packers the ball at the 1.

But after a lengthy debate about kicking or running an offensive play, Rodgers handed off to Jamaal Williams, who was swallowed by McCoy (not literally) behind the line of scrimmage.

It was a significant stop for the Panthers’ defense at a time they needed it.

Panthers quarterback Kyle Allen helped them with another fumble (his fifth lost this season), which the Packers turned into Aaron Jones‘ second touchdown of the day earlier in the second quarter.

What to Read Next