Grading the Carolina Panthers in their snowy loss at the Green Bay Packers

Grading the Carolina Panthers in their snowy loss at the Green Bay Packers
(Source: via Carolina Panthers)

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (Alaina Getzenberg//The Charlotte Observer) - The Panthers went to Lambeau Field hoping for an upset of the Packers in the snow, but fell short, 24-16.

PASSING OFFENSE

B: Kyle Allen got off to a strong start with just two incompletions in the first half. And he ended it on a high note. The 23-year old put together an impressive final drive for the Panthers that featured some really beautiful throws, including an 18-yard pass to Greg Olsen that was thrown perfectly. He had a career-high 307 yards. DJ Moore even put together his second straight 100-yard game. However, Allen did have some costly mistakes including a fumble in the second quarter that brought back memories of his play from earlier this season. He ended his four-game streak without fumble and the Packers went on to take the lead on the following drive. On the first drive of the second half, when the Panthers desperately needed points, Allen made another costly mistake, forcing a pass into the endzone and throwing an interception in his third straight game. He had some errors, but Allen put together a really strong last drive. That’s hard to overlook for the young quarterback.

RUSHING OFFENSE

B-minus: The Panthers didn’t take enough advantage of a very mediocre Packers run defense when they had the opportunity early in the game. McCaffrey only had 13 carries before the game got carried away. Green Bay came into the game allowing 127.7 yards per game. There is no good reason for the team’s MVP through eight games to only have had nine carries in the first half. McCaffrey averaged 5.6 yards per carry and had success. He even went over 100 yards. Things just got out of hand in the second half.

PASSING DEFENSE

D-plus: Things got a little ugly here. Ross Cockrell and Donte Jackson both got banged up after the Panthers came into the game without James Bradberry. There were missed tackles all over the field, including by Eric Reid and Tre Boston. Reid gave up a big play when Jimmy Graham got past him for a 48-yard gain. Davante Adams had 7 catches for 118 yards, including two for 37-plus yards. The defense had its moments, including Jackson forcing an incompletion on a deep throw in the fourth quarter to give the Panthers offense a chance with nine minutes still to go. Tackles in the open field overall were hard to come by. Rodgers often had plenty of time and took advantage of it. You can’t beat Packers that way.

RUSHING DEFENSE

D: The defense could not stop Aaron Jones or Jamaal Williams. At times it looked too easy. Not only did he have three touchdowns, but Jones averaged 7.3 yards per carry. When Carolina needed a stop on Green Bay’s second drive of the third quarter, there was absolutely nothing the defense could do. Williams had three runs of 10-plus yards on the drive. Gerald McCoy had his jaw-dropping stop at the end the first half that forced the Packers to end a long drive scoreless, but that was one of the only highlights. The Panthers have now given up 150 rushing yards in three games this season, of course all loses. The Packers had six rushing first downs in the second half. That can’t happen if you’re trying to make a comeback.

SPECIAL TEAMS

B-plus: Joey Slye made a 50-yard kick at Lambeau in the snow and wind after missing five field goals from 40-plus yards over the last four games. With Greg Dortch inactive today, DJ Moore did a solid job on punts and DeAndrew White was fine on kickoffs with one muffed catch in third quarter. The biggest special teams miscue came when McCoy was called for illegal formation on a missed 52-yard field goal by Mason Crosby. He went on to make the attempt following the five-yard penalty. The three points didn’t end up making much of a difference, but those mistakes shouldn’t happen.

COACHING

C: Things were pretty tame here overall until Ron Rivera decided to go for two after McCaffrey’s touchdown in the fourth quarter. With the Panthers down eight, they could have just kicked the extra point and been down seven with 12 minutes left to go in the game. Instead, Rivera elected to go for it, forcing the Panthers to try for another attempt later or score twice. Norv Turner called a good game overall, mixing the run and pass, but he could have gotten McCaffrey more involved early. Carolina was unable to consistently pressure on Rodgers, which falls on Rivera, but give this team credit for not letting things get completely out of hand like in San Francisco. They stayed in this one.