The Green Bay Packers jumped all over the Panthers early and often in what some thought might be a playoff preview. Here were the key players and stats from the contest.
Turning Point: The turning point came early in this rout, in the form of two penalties on the Packers first drive. The Packers faced a third and twelve from their own 28 yard-line, when they induced Carolina into a pair of penalties. Back-to-back infractions by Wes Horton (Neutral zone infraction) and Luke Keuchley (Offsides) gave the Packers a much more manageable 3rd and 2. The Packers would go on to score and never look back, putting up 28 unanswered points before the Panthers tallied a field goal before the half.
Key Stat: 9-70
These were the Panthers' penalty numbers on the day, which came at pivotal times early in the game to contribute to an early deficit. The defense was unable to stop Aaron Rodgers and the offense was unable to keep up with him as a result of these infractions.
Packers MVP: Aaron Rodgers
Aaron Rodgers was nearly perfect today, and had the quarterback rating to prove it. He threw for 255 yards while completing 19 of 22 passes and three touchdowns. His quarterback rating was 154.5, which is just shy of a perfect rating of 158.3. Rodgers demonstrated his mastery of game-management in this contest, inducing those early Panthers penalties with hard snap counts.
Panthers MVP: Greg Olsen
When you lose as badly as the Panthers did, few players can say they performed up to par. However, Greg Olsen did the best he could, catching all eight passes thrown in his direction for 105 yards. Olsen helped sustain a couple drives and served admirably as an outlet for Cam Newton, who was under duress all day.
On the Hot Seat: Carolina Offensive Line
The Panthers are beat up along their offensive line, but that should be little excuse for the pressure Cam Newton faced all game. Newton was sacked three times for a total loss of 25 yards, and was under heavy rush all game long. Some changes will have to be made going forward if the Panthers expect to contend in shootouts like they had today.
What's Next? The Packers face the New Orleans Saints on the road in prime time, which will be their final contest before a Week 9 bye. The Panthers will head home to face the Seattle Seahawks before a quick turnaround to face the Saints on a short week the following Thursday.
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