(The Sports Xchange) - It’s easy for the Carolina Panthers to focus on the results these days after another key victory with a dicey ending.
“It felt great how we played because we stopped them at the end,” defensive end Kony Ealy said. “But we have to learn how to put our foot down on their throats.”
Cam Newton threw three touchdown passes and ran for another as the unbeaten Panthers (8-0) held off the Green Bay Packers 37-29.
This one was not secured until linebacker Thomas Davis made an interception on a fourth-down play near the goal line after the Packers (6-2) threatened to wipe out a 23-point deficit in the last eight minutes.
Davis intercepted Aaron Rodgers’ fourth-and-goal pass from the 4-yard line after the two-minute warning. Wide receiver Randall Cobb was open, but Rodgers missed him under heavy duress from defensive tackle Kawann Short. Rodgers had four touchdown passes and was sacked five times.
“I just made the catch, but it was fourth down anyway,” Davis said. “I cannot stress enough how much (Short) meant going in there and making it happen.”
The Panthers continued the best start in franchise history with their second victory in less than a week after recovering in overtime to defeat the Indianapolis Colts on Monday night.
“We let another team come back on us,” Davis said. “That was because of Aaron Rodgers.”
Green Bay lost consecutive games for the first time since November 2013 to fall into a first-place NFC North tie with the Vikings (6-2).
“It’s going to hurt a little bit, obviously,” Packers wide receiver Davante Adams said. “That’s not the type of game that we are capable of playing, but we just have to look past it at this point.”
Newton, who completed 15 of 30 passes for 297 yards with one interception, turned in several clutch plays, particularly in the first three quarters.
“He can scramble around and up in the pocket and he can produce a lot of plays,” Packers cornerback Demarious Randall said.
Randall intercepted Newton with 3:38 remaining, putting the Packers at the Carolina 22 and trialing by eight.
But Green Bay could not convert on fourth-and-goal when Rodgers threw the ball up in desperation.
“You feel pretty good with our defense on the field,” Carolina tight end Greg Olsen said. “They did enough.”
Rodgers ended up 25 of 48 for 369 yards.
Editing by Gene Cherry