CHARLOTTE — The Packers shook out of their midseason slump in the fourth quarter on Sunday, but a furious rally came up short as Green Bay fell to unbeaten Carolina, 37-29, at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte.
Down by 23 points with less than 10 minutes to play, the Packers rallied with two touchdowns and an interception and had a fourth-and-goal try from the 4-yard line for the potential tying TD, but QB Aaron Rodgers was intercepted and Carolina hung on for the win.
The loss dropped the Packers to 6-2 and marked the first time they’ve lost back-to-back regular-season games with Aaron Rodgers at quarterback since Weeks 5-6 of 2010.
More important, the Packers fell into a tie for first place in the NFC North with Minnesota, who beat the Rams in overtime.
Rodgers finished 24-of-47 for 376 yards with four TDs and the one interception for the Packers. Panthers QB Cam Newton was 15-of-30 for 297 yards with three TDs and one interception.
The fourth quarter began with a successful replay challenge by the Packers, who initially had allowed Newton to scramble for 7 yards and a first down. After review, the spot of the ball was moved back about a foot, leaving the Panthers short of the first down and forcing them to punt.
The Packers did nothing with it, though, as Panthers DE Kony Ealy sacked Rodgers on third down, forcing a fumble that Rodgers recovered.
The Panthers then drove for what proved to be the decisive points, as Newton hit WR Ted Ginn for a 20-yard gain, drew a 34-yard pass interference penalty on rookie CB Damarious Randall on a deep ball for TE Greg Olsen, and then connected with WR Devin Funchess on a 14-yard TD, making it 37-14 with 9:22 left.
The Packers got one score back on a 29-yard screen pass for a TD to RB James Starks, who had gained 30 yards on a screen pass earlier in the drive as well. Rodgers’ two-point pass to WR Davante Adams pulled the Packers within 37-22 with 7:54 to go.
After getting the ball back, Green Bay got within one score with 3:43 to go. A 36-yard pass from Rodgers to WR James Jones converted on fourth-and-14, and Rodgers followed with a 17-yard screen pass to Starks and a 3-yard TD pass to TE Richard Rodgers. K Mason Crosby’s PAT made it 37-29.
Rookie CB Damarious Randall then picked off Newton on the first play of the ensuing drive on a pass intended for Ginn along the sideline, giving the Packers the ball at the Carolina 22.
On fourth-and-5, Rodgers hit Cobb for a first down at the 9-yard line. On third-and-goal, Rodgers scrambled to the 4-yard line, putting the game on the line at the two-minute warning. After Carolina called a timeout, Rodgers’ pass was intercepted by LB Thomas Davis with 1:54 left.
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