Rapid Reactions: Comeback falls short as Panthers fall to Packers


The Big Headline

Carolina came into Sunday's matchup ranked 26th in the league in run defense, allowing an average of 133.4 yards per game on the ground.

Unfortunately for the Panthers, that ranking is likely going to get worse after giving up 163 rushing yards in Sunday's 24-16 loss to the Packers.

Green Bay running backs Aaron Jones and Jamaal Williams gashed the Panthers defense over and over, as the Packers averaged an incredible six yards per carry. Time and time again the duo made their way to the second and third levels of the defense before they were touched by any Panthers defenders.

It's never a good thing for a defense when the leading tacklers are all members of the secondary, but that's what happened when Jones and Williams averaged 7.1 and 4.8 yards per carry, respectively.

Allen's costly turnovers

The Panthers had all the momentum early in the game.

After the teams traded three-and-outs on their opening drives, the Panthers offense found its rhythm on its second drive. A 38-yard completion from quarterback Kyle Allen to wide receiver DJ Moore helped move the Panthers down into the red zone, and four plays later Allen connected with wide receiver Curtis Samuel for a 2-yard touchdown.

The Packers responded with a touchdown of their own, but the Panthers came back to take a 10-7 lead and force a Green Bay punt. The Panthers took over at their own 45-yard line and quickly crossed midfield, but on the next play Allen fumbled the snap and the Packers recovered.

Six plays later, the Packers were in the end zone with a 14-10 lead, and the Panthers offense struggled to get back on track before halftime.

Later, on the Panthers first possession of the second half, the offense found its momentum again. Allen had driven the Panthers all the way down to the Packers' 11-yard line before he threw his fifth interception of the season.

Another promising set up brought to a halt by a Panthers turnover.

On the other side, the Panthers defense was unable to get a turnover of its own. In the Panthers five victories this season, the defense has forced 17 takeaways, but in the now four losses, they have only managed to get two.

The ups and downs of Gerald McCoy

After a punt pinned the Packers at their own 10-yard line, the Panthers defense set up a third-and-13 with 4:21 left in the second quarter. One more stop and the Panthers would be in prime position for another score before halftime.

On the third-down play, defensive linemen Bruce Irvin and Gerald McCoy forced their way into the backfield and brought down Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers as he threw an incompletion. But instead of getting the stop, McCoy was flagged for a questionable roughing the passer penalty which gave the Packers an automatic first down and a second chance at points.

The Packers turned the extra opportunity into an 89-yard drive, making their way all the way down to the 1-yard line. With two seconds left on the clock, the Packers opted to try and punch it in for six instead of settling for a field goal.

But McCoy had other plans.

The defensive tackle burst into the backfield with the help of defensive tackle Vernon Butler and stuffed Packers running back Jamaal Williams for a three-yard loss to end the half.

Inconsistencies in the secondary

The Panthers secondary suffered a huge blow just before kickoff when No. 1 cornerback James Bradberry was ruled out with a lingering groin injury from last week's game against the Titans.

When you're squaring off against Aaron Rodgers, you need all the help you can get in the defensive backfield, and that was clear on Sunday.

With Bradberry sidelined, Donte Jackson and Ross Cockrell started at the cornerback positions, and defensive backs Cole Luke, Colin Jones and Javien Elliott all saw time in the secondary, too.

The faces in the secondary weren't the only inconsistencies, though.

The play was up and down, too. Jackson, Carolina's usually reliable No. 2 corner, was flagged for two pass interference penalties, and Cockrell struggled to contain Packers' receiver Davante Adams.

Rodgers finished 17 of 29 for 233 yards, while Adams caught seven of those passes for 118 yards.

View photos from Week 10 as Carolina visits Green Bay.

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