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Packers rally to take down Panthers

Sep 19, 2011 - 1:22 AM Charlotte, NC (Sports Network) - Aaron Rodgers threw for 308 yards and a pair of touchdowns as Green Bay rallied from an early 13-point deficit to down Carolina, 30-23.

Rodgers finished 19-of-30, with TD strikes to Greg Jennings and Jordy Nelson for the Packers (2-0), while Mason Crosby connected on three field goals and John Kuhn added a rushing score for the defending champions.

Charles Woodson posted a pair of key picks and recovered a fumble for Green Bay.

"It wasn't the cleanest of wins by any means," Green Bay head coach Mike McCarthy said. "I mean, we can sit here and pick apart all the things that didn't go right, but most importantly, we finished it the right way as a football team. It's a road win. They're tough and always special."

After throwing for 422 yards in his pro debut last week, Cam Newton passed for 432 yards and one score on Sunday, but was intercepted three times. The Panthers (0-2), got 100-yard receiving performances from Steve Smith and Jonathan Stewart in defeat.

Smith led the way with 156 yards on six catches, and Stewart posted 100 yards on eight grabs. Newton added a team-best 53 yards on the ground plus a touchdown.

The Panthers reached the Packers' three-yard line with just over four minutes to play, but failed to convert a 4th-and-4 from the six when Newton scrambled but was caught from behind well short of the marker.

James Starks broke up the middle for a 12-yard rush on first down, then Rodgers hit Nelson in stride and he didn't stop until he reached the end zone 84 yards later for a 30-16 game and 2:14 on the clock.

Newton posted a four-yard TD run with 37 seconds to play and on the extra point, the Panthers trailed 30-23. Green Bay recovered the onside kick and Rodgers took a knee for the final play.

Despite a pair of illegal shift penalties, Carolina took a 7-0 lead on its first series thanks to Brandon LaFell's three-yard TD reception.

Sean Considine recovered a fumble on the kickoff, and the home team was set up on Green Bay's 26. Olindo Mare converted a 20-yard field goal for a 10-0 game, then hit from 33 yards out on the third play of the second quarter for a 13- point advantage.

Green Bay finally hit the scoreboard on a one-yard run from Kuhn to cap an 80- yard drive, but couldn't close the gap further than 13-7 for the rest of the half.

The Packers needed less than three minutes on the opening drive of the third quarter to take a 14-13 edge, as Rodgers hit a wide-open Jennings for a 49- yard score.

Two plays later, Woodson picked off Newton deep in Carolina territory. After going just one yard in three plays, Crosby hit from 37 yards out to make it 17-13.

On the Panthers' following drive, Smith coughed up the ball on a run after a catch, with Woodson recovering at the Packers' 33. Rodgers couldn't find Nelson on a 3rd-and-goal from the one, and Crosby connected from 19 to provide a seven-point margin for Green Bay.

"We just have to get it right...and were going to get it right," said a subdued Newton. "I'm not the person to just sit up here and say, 'Well, we have next time.' I want it right now and I want to get it right now."

Morgan Burnett stepped in front of a Newton pass on the ensuing series near midfield. It was 23-13 for the visitors seven plays later after Crosby made a 34-yard attempt.

Mare made a 21-yarder to bring Carolina within a touchdown early in the fourth quarter.

Game Notes

The Packers improved to 7-4 all-time against the Panthers, including a 5-2 mark in Carolina...Starks ended with 85 yards on nine carries...Jennings finished with 55 yards on two receptions...LaFell posted four catches for 49 yards...Green Bay won without the services of starting cornerback Tramon Williams, sidelined with a shoulder injury suffered last Sunday...The clubs combined for almost 1,000 yards of total offense (Carolina 475, Green Bay 419).