The Green Bay’s defense surrendered a lot of yardage throughout Sunday’s game, but in the end, they held NFL MVP candidate Christian McCaffrey short of the goal line as time expired and the Packers held on for a 24-16 win at snowy Lambeau Field.
Aaron Jones rushed for 93 yards and three touchdowns, the second time this season he’s rushed for three scores. Jones is the first Packers player since Sterling Sharpe in 1994 with multiple three-touchdown games in a season. He is also the first Green Bay running back since Jim Taylor in 1962 with multiple three-touchdown games in a season. Taylor did it three times that year.
The Panthers got the ball back with 2:25 left on their own 11-yard line, trailing by eight points. Quarterback Kyle Allen drove the Panthers down the field, including completing a 12-year pass to D.J. Moore on fourth-and-10 with 56 seconds left.
The Panthers also got some help from an offsides penalty with 13 second left to convert another fourth down. After Allen threw an incompletion to McCaffrey, the Panthers handed the ball off to their star but the Packers held him short of the end zone. A replay review upheld the call on the field and the Packers pulled out their eighth (8-2) win of the season.
It felt like the Packers did a decent job of containing McCaffrey because he didn’t bust out for any big plays, but when the dust settled, he still finished with 108 yards on 20 carries and a touchdown. McCaffrey also caught six passes for 33 yards to give him 141 multi-purpose yards for the game.
Panthers wide out D.J. Moore had 120 yards on 9 receptions and veteran tight end Greg Olsen had 98 yards on 8 catches.
Allen completed 28 of 43 for 307 yards and a touchdown. But he also threw an interception and lost a fumble as the Packers won the turnover battle 2-0.
Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers completed 17 of 29 for 233 yards, including 118 to Davante Adams, but he didn’t throw any touchdown passes. It’s the second time this season that Rodgers didn’t throw a touchdown pass and the Packers still won the game.
Aaron Jones (13 carries, 93 yards) and Jamaal Williams (13 carries, 63 yards) combined for 156 yards rushing.
The Packers had the ball at the 1-yard line just before the half, up 14-10. With time for one play, Packers coach Matt LaFleur elected to take a shot at a touchdown instead of taking a sure three points. They went with a run call, straight up the middle to Jamaal Williams, but Carolina’s Gerald McCoy blew up the play, tackling Williams for a loss and the half ended without the Packers scoring.
But the Packers did score a touchdown on their first possession of the third quarter, a 13-yard touchdown run for Aaron Jones go put the Packers in front 21-10.
Mason Crosby’s 47-yard field goal with 1:25 left in the third quarter increased the lead to 24-14.
Christian McCaffrey then scored on a 3-yard run to cut the lead to 24-16 with 11:58 to play, but for some reason, Carolina coach Ron Rivera elected to play for two instead of attempting the extra point. The conversion attempt failed.
Packers outside linebacker Preston Smith had two quarterback sacks, giving him a career-high 10 for the season.
On the injury front, Packers CB Tremon Smith and rookie linebacker Ty Summers both left the game to be checked for concussions. Neither player returned.
The Packers now get their bye week off and won’t play again until a week from Sunday at San Francisco against the 49ers.