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Week 10 Game Recap: Carolina Panthers 16, Green Bay Packers 24

What you need to know

Carolina Panthers

The arrow is pointing up on Kyle Allen, who performed admirably in a tough environment on the road. However, turnovers continue to plague him, with a fumble on an exchange from center and an interception on a bad read in the end zone costing the Panthers possession and points. He made some outstanding and daring throws throughout, staying aggressive despite the uphill battle. Christian McCaffrey was as effective as usual. The only reason he didn’t see more touches was how efficiently Green Bay played keep-away with their offense. The receiving duo of D.J. Moore and Curtis Samuel flashed at times, finding wide-open space to run against a porous Green Bay secondary. Greg Olsen was outstanding, hauling in crucial catch after crucial catch and building a rapport with Allen. Defensively, Carolina was sieve-like against the run and could get no pass rush on Aaron Rodgers, a factor that could result in fewer opportunities for the offense.

Green Bay Packers

The Green Bay Packers beat the Carolina Panthers 24-16 to improve their record to 8-2 on the season. Aaron Rodgers completed 17 of 29 passes for 233 yards with no touchdowns or interceptions. Running back Aaron Jones paced the Packers offense with 93 yards and three touchdowns rushing, while Jamaal Williams rushed 13 times for 63 yards. Davante Adams caught seven passes for 118 yards, while Alan Lazar caught three passes for 27 yards. Tight end Jimmy Graham caught two passes for 59 yards on four targets.

Carolina Panthers

QB Kyle Allen, 73 offensive snaps, Pass: 28 - 43 - 307 - 1 TD / 1 INT, Rush: 3 - 12 - 0
Kyle Allen performed well for the most part in a hostile environment, but a few key errors and the whiff of inexperience dogged him at crucial moments. He was able to escape pressure niftily in this game, something that became a habit as the Panthers offensive line struggled to deal with the Packers up front. Allen often spun away from would-be sacks and weaved around defenders to break the pocket. At times, the Packers defense offered scant resistance, with Allen able to survey the field and complete passes to wide-open receivers in acres of space. Off play action, Allen continues to look most comfortable, where his reads are mostly defined. His lone passing touchdown came on a quick out to Curtis Samuel near the goal line, a simple pitch and catch. A center-quarterback exchange resulted in a fumble later in the game, with Allen fumbling and losing the ball, the mistake firmly on his shoulders. He made another costly error on an interception later, mistakenly diagnosing a receiver as open in the back of the end zone. He didn’t anticipate the safety in the middle of the field lurking, throwing it into traffic. The ball was tipped up and picked off easily. Despite the errors, Allen battled back and, with the offense on his shoulders, completed some beautiful passes in the clutch to put Carolina into position to potentially tie the game. Still, an errant throw in the two-minute drill that hit a Green Bay player in the hands was not punished and should have been a pick-six.

RB Christian McCaffrey, 73 offensive snaps, Rush: 20 - 108 - 1, Rec: 6 - 33 - 0 (7 targets)
The Carolina offense was generally able to move the ball at will against Green Bay, with a few notable exceptions; Christian McCaffrey was largely the driving force behind it. Early on, it became clear that McCaffrey would have to be patient to allow his blocks to develop against a disciplined front seven. As time passed, however, he began to get into rhythm and broke off a handful of chunk plays behind some excellent blocks. Kyle Allen went to McCaffrey often on dump-off passes, with the superstar back showing safe hands and inevitably getting first-down yardage after the catch. McCaffrey fumbled in the second half but managed to recover it after a Packers defender ripped it out of his grasp. McCaffrey’s opportunities to touch the ball were limited by the Green Bay offense, which was able to establish the run and eat up the clock, denying the Panthers offense the football for long periods. McCaffrey, after failing to hit pay dirt early in the game on a goal line carry, thumped it in later in the game, with his blockers paving a huge lane for him. With the Panthers in pass-heavy mode at the end of the game, McCaffrey’s role on the ground was nearly non-existent, replaced by a steady dose of check-down passes. McCaffrey got the ball on the final play of the game from the 2-yard line, but he was ruled just short.

WR D.J. Moore, 73 offensive snaps, Rec: 9 - 120 - 0 (11 targets)
D.J. Moore continued to forge his strong connection with young quarterback Kyle Allen in difficult conditions at Lambeau Field. With the footing uneven due to the snow, Moore put on a show and consistently got open with smooth route-running and soft hands. The Packers defense left Moore wide open on a shallow crossing pattern early in the game, providing an easy read and throw for Allen. Moore scooted up the field for a 38-yard chunk and followed that up with another catch on a wide-open throw. Moore was the apple of Allen’s eye throughout and the receiver caught almost everything thrown his way, with his most impressive play coming on a deep dig that Allen had to fire in accurately. Moore rewarded him with a great snag in traffic. Moore converted one of the biggest plays of the game for Carolina, a fourth down in the final quarter, to keep their hopes alive, coming back to the football after Allen’s follow-through saw the pass loop into the air.

WR Curtis Samuel, 61 offensive snaps, Rec: 4 - 35 - 1 (8 targets)
Curtis Samuel took a backseat to D.J. Moore in this game but managed to assert himself as it wore on. An early third-down connection with Kyle Allen was snuffed out, as Samuel’s attempt to spin away and reach the line-to-gain was rebuffed. Samuel got into the end zone soon after, though. Lined up in the slot right, Allen rolled right as Samuel ran a quick out. The two were on the same page and linked up with a simple pitch and catch for the score. Samuel only managed to secure one deep target, but the pass was thrown to his back shoulder and he couldn’t manage to use the proper technique to get his hands together to make the play. With the footing growing increasingly unsteady due to the snowy conditions, Samuel could only muster a handful of short catches as the Panthers went into comeback mode.

WR Jarius Wright, 45 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 21 - 0 (2 targets)
Jarius Wright made an important play in the two-minute drill at the end of the game, catching a pass on a deep over route despite taking a massive hit at the end of it. The veteran receiver saw minimal action and the occasions that Carolina went to multiple wide receivers, Kyle Allen went elsewhere with his targets.

TE Greg Olsen, 73 offensive snaps, Rec: 8 - 98 - 0 (10 targets)
Greg Olsen rolled back the years with a typically dependable display in the frigid conditions at Lambeau Field. The veteran tight end hoovered up passes from Kyle Allen, who was often keying in on Olsen running underneath patterns. The Packers defense afforded Olsen plenty of room to operate and at times he was able to get into space and run after the catch. His best series of plays came in the clutch; with Allen under pressure, Olsen was generally his preferred target. The veteran delivered with a tremendous leaping catch ‘above the rim’ on a crucial third down, clamping the football with his hands at its highest point. The Olsen-Allen connection had one miscommunication when Olsen, reading the zone coverage, sat down on a shallow crossing route. Allen, reading man, threw it the spot Olsen had just come from. The two connected again with Allen’s best pass of the game in the final moments, a lofted ball that floated over the underneath coverage to a waiting Olsen on the sideline.

Green Bay Packers

QB Aaron Rodgers, 68 offensive snaps, Pass: 17 - 29 - 233 - 0 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 1 - 7 - 0
Aaron Rodgers completed 17 of 29 passes for 233 yards while also rushing one time for seven yards in the Packers win over the Panthers on Sunday. This was only the second time all season where Rodgers failed to record a touchdown pass, and his 17 completions and 29 attempts were both a season low for the star quarterback. It is not like the Panthers defense had their way with Rodgers though, as the Packers were able to move the ball offensively and put themselves in advantageous situations in the red zone. Whereas three weeks ago it was Rodgers throwing for five touchdowns, this game was all Aaron Jones, as the Packers running back scored three touchdowns in the red zone. The Packers had very solid, sustained drives which forced the Panthers defense to wear down, allowing Jones and Williams to rush for 156 yards on 26 carries. Rodgers long pass of the day came with the Packers facing a third and six from their own 26 yard line. Rodgers took the snap out of the shotgun and was given a clean pocket to step into. Rodgers manipulated the front portion of the Panthers zone coverage by subtlety pump faking to the outside right part of the field. This moved the defenders just enough for Rogers, who then completed his pass to Graham for 48 yards.

RB Jamaal Williams, 34 offensive snaps, Rush: 13 - 63 - 0 (1 targets)
Jamaal Williams rushed 13 times for 63 yards in the Packers win over the Panthers on Sunday. Williams did what we have come to expect out of him, which is to fill in for Jones when he needs a break, or to grind time away on the clock with the Packers winning. In that respect, he did a great job as Jones and Williams were just too much for the Panthers to handle with respect to stopping the run. Most of Williams value comes from the passing game, so it is hard to expect much out of him when he doesn’t catch, which he didn’t do for the first time this season. In fact, coming into this game, Williams had four straight games with a touchdown reception and five receiving touchdowns on the year. It seems as though this performance was just an outlier game for Williams, as his role has been cemented firmly over the last five games and he will have flex value going forward.

RB Aaron Jones, 34 offensive snaps, Rush: 13 - 93 - 3
Aaron Jones rushed 13 times for 93 yards and three touchdowns in the Packers win over the Panthers on Sunday. This marked the fourth time this season where Jones has scored two or more touchdowns (week 5 at Cowboys, four touchdowns, week 8 at KC, two touchdowns and week 3 against Denver, two touchdowns). The Packers offense moved the ball rather well against a Panthers defense that came into this game as one of the better pass defenses. Rodgers was able to carve up the Panthers secondary when he needed a big third down conversion, with those looks going his Davante Adams. Jones was there to finish up the Packers drives, and he is becoming one of the best red zone running backs in the NFL this season. Jones first touchdown came with the Packers facing a first and goal from the Panthers five yard line. Rodgers took the snap out of the shotgun and handed off to Jones, who was to his right in the backfield. Jones benefitted from Valdes-Scalding who was coming in motion across the face of the formation, which seemed to freeze the Panthers linebackers. Jones took the handoff and weaved his way through the line for an easy five yard touchdown. Jones second touchdown came with the Packers facing a second and goal from the Panthers one yard line. Rodgers took the snap under center and handed off to Jones who was running full speed from his position in the back field. Jones took the handoff and it looked as though he had a moment of indecision before planting his feet and attempting to jump over the pile of bodies at the goal line. He didn’t necessarily go over the pile, but he managed to break the plane and was awarded the one yard touchdown. Jones final touchdown came with the Packers facing a first and ten from the Carolina 13 yard line. Rodgers took the snap out of the shotgun and handed off to Jones, who was lined up to his left. Jones took the handoff and immediately broke of running to his right before cutting back to the middle of the field. The Panthers defense was too slow to react to the angle Jones took, and the closest they came to stopping him was a weak dive at his legs at the eight yard line. Jones shook that off easily and scored what would become the deciding touchdown of the game for the Packers.

WR Davante Adams, 54 offensive snaps, Rec: 7 - 118 - 0 (10 targets)
Davante Adams caught seven passes for 118 yards on 10 targets in the Packers win over the Panthers on Sunday. This was a get-right game for Adams, who looked a step slow in last week’s return to action after missing four games with an injury. While the Panthers were without James Bradberry, I’m not sure it would have mattered as Adams came out of the gates strong in this game, forcing a deep pass interference penalty before setting up Jones’ first touchdown run with a 15 yard catch. Rodgers went right back to Adams on the Packers next drive, hitting him on a 37 yard completion where Adams made a ridiculous catch. The ball was placed perfectly by Rodgers, but perhaps too well, as the ball’s trajectory literally went through Adams’ defenders arms forcing Adams to look it in the entire time before snagging the reception. Adams was far from done though, as he and Rodgers hooked up again for a 38 yard reception that came with Rodgers backed up into his own end zone. Adams ran a double-move that looked like an inside post, before he broke back outside and Rodgers hit him perfectly in stride along the left sideline.

WR Allen Lazard, 30 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 27 - 0 (6 targets)
Allen Lazard caught three of six targets for 27 yards in the Packers win over the Panthers on Sunday. Lazard has taken over the #2 job from Marquez Valdes-Scantling and Geronimo Allison and has been consistently seeing the second most targets behind only Adams. While he doesn’t have the deep ball skillset that Valdes-Scantling does, Lazard has proven to be very versatile, which makes him a better fit alongside Adams. Lazard has yet to really break out, but this game was a good indication that the Packers are going to stick with him, as his targets were broken up into short, intermediate and deep passes.

WR Marquez Valdes-Scantling, 11 offensive snaps (1 targets)
Marquez Valdes-Scantling was held without a catch for the second straight game. His value looks to have been depleted to the point where you can safely drop him in favor of Allen Lazard.

TE Jimmy Graham, 44 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 59 - 0 (4 targets)
Jimmy Graham caught two passes on four targets for 59 yards in the Packers win over the Panthers on Sunday. 48 of Graham’s 59 yards came on one catch where the Panthers completely lost track of him in the middle of the field. Rodgers moved a defender out of his line of sight by pump-faking to the outside before hitting Graham. To his credit, Graham was not going down easy, as he bull-rushed two defenders like the old Jimmy Graham and picked up another 10 yards after the catch. The tight end position is quite shallow these days, and at the very least, Graham has a floor that makes him a solid bye week fill in.