In every category on the basic statistic page, the Green Bay Packers lead. More first downs, more total yards. More passing yards, more rushing yards. Not surprisingly, more penalties. More third down conversions, more fourth down conversions. More turnovers, and a much greater time of possession.
The only statistic that really matters, however, is the final score. It was there that the Packers couldn’t quite deliver.
The 21-10 first half was not at all the start that the Pack needed. Carolina came out fast and scored first. From there, nothing seemed to go right, but the fourth quarter finally brought a turnaround. Aaron Rodgers led the Packers all the way to the Carolina 1 yard line, where the Panthers put a halt to any notions of a touchdown. Mason Crosby put three on the board to take the lead, but the special teams found a way to give the game away in spite of all odds.
Mark Jones returned the kickoff to the Carolina 45, and two plays later, DeAngelo Williams ran up the middle to score his fourth touchdown of the game and the win.
Just so easily, the Packers fall to 5-7 and lose virtually all hope of a playoff berth with just four games remaining. Chicago and Minnesota are both strongly in front of the division, and there’s no reason to think they’ll lose excessively in the future.
Aaron Rodgers finished with a stunning 298 yards of passing. Ryan Grant only managed 39 yards of rushing, but Brandon Jackson found the holes and rolled off 80 yards. Greg Jennings and Donald Driver both had good days, with 91 and 83 yards respectively, but there were just too many stops.
Beginning with today’s game, every game for the Packers was a must win. This one is gone.
The Packers host Houston next Sunday, December 7, while the Panthers host Tampa Bay on Monday Night Football, December 8.