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GAME BLOG: Green Bay beats Carolina, 30-23

September 18, 2011

Carolina's Cam Newton was stopped short of the yard to gain on fourth down, and with 3:09 the hopes for a Panthers upset faded. Two plays later Green Bay's Aaron Rodgers tossed a short pass to Jordy Nelson who raced the length of the field to score on an 84-yard strike. With that, hopes for the Panthers' first win disappeared completely - along with fans from Bank of America Stadium.

Many of those departing fans never saw Carolina engineer an eight-play, 83-yard drive. Newton scored on a four-yard run in the game's final minute, but the Panthers offense never saw the field again.

Still, the 2011 Panthers team is a stark contrast to the squad that found the field last year. Although Carolina starts 0-2, the game was competitive, exciting, and fans - for both teams - had plenty of reason to cheer.

Late in the game, Carolina narrowed q Green Bay lead with a 13-play, 77-yard drive to start the fourth quarter. Olindo Mare kicked a 21-yard field goal to bring Carolina within seven points, 23-16.

Carolina got off to a quick start, but after quarterback Cam Newton was intercepted three times in four offensive possessions, the wheels began to come off the Panthers' bus.

Coming out of halftime, the Packers marched 80 yards in five plays to take their first lead of the game. Packers quarterback Aaron Rogers connected with Greg Jennings on a 49-yard touchdown play to give Green Bay a 14-13 lead.

On the ensuing Carolina possession, Green Bay’s Charles Woodson picked off a Newton pass - he collected two today. The Packers cashed it in four plays later with a 37-yard field goal by Mason Crosby.

Looking to get momentum back in the Panthers jerseys, Newton connected with Steve Smith on a 25-yard completion. Smith fumbled on the play and gave the ball back to the Packers.

Eight plays later, Crosby kicked another field goal - this time from 19 yards out - Green Bay ahead 23-13. From there the Packers continued to cruise into the fourth quarter. Crosby kicked a 34-yard field goal, to give Green Bay a 10-point lead.

After taking a 7-0 lead on its opening drive, Carolina’s Charles Godfrey knocked loose a Green Bay kick-off return, and a Panther fumble recovery set the offense up at the 26-yard line.

Five plays and 24 yards later, Olindo Mare gave the Panthers a 10-0 lead with a 20-yard field goal.

Carolina took the opening kick-off and immediately marched down the field and scored.

Cam Newton hit Brandon LaFell on a three-yard touchdown pass to cap a 10-play, 84-yard drive. The march consumed 5:40 off the clock.

Newton opened 6 of 7 for 91 yards on the drive.

Carolina's offense attacked from the air right out of the gate. Of the first six offensive plays, Cam Newton made five passes, completing four. He hit a wide open tight end Jeremy Shockey Twice for 41 yards, before passing to Steve Smith for a 15-yard gain.

An 15-yard touchdown pass from Newton to TE Greg Olsen was called back on a second-straight illegal shift penalty against Carolina.

Check www.observernewsonline.com for complete game coverage.

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