A thrilling afternoon at Bank of America Stadium ultimately ended in disappointment for the home fans Sunday, as Green Bay beat Carolina, 30-23.
The game wasn't completely over until Green Bay's Donald Driver recovered a late onside kick by Carolina's Olindo Mare with less than 40 seconds remaining. There was much to recommend this game in general in terms of entertainment value, and some positives and negatives regarding the Panthers' play.
Best passing number: Cam Newton threw for a team-record 432 yards, which was his second straight 400-yard performance. He surpassed Chris Weinke's team mark.
Worst passing number: Newton also threw three interceptions, and he sounded very downcast about all of them after the game.
Best gesture: Thomas Davis ran onto the field in the pregame swinging injured teammate Jon Beason's jersey.
Worst possible injury: Davis was later hurt himself in the game. How bad his knee is hurt is inconclusive and more will be known Monday.
Worst statistic: DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart combined for 11 carries for 18 yards against the Packers. It was the second straight week that "Double Trouble" was no trouble at all to handle on the ground.
Best call: Ahead 23-16 at their own 16 with 2:26 remaining, Green Bay faced a first-and-10. Most teams would have simply run the ball three times and hoped to get a first down, burning the opponents' timeouts. The Packers instead threw an 84-yard touchdown pass -- Aaron Rodgers to Jordy Nelson -- that sealed the game.
Best crowd: Fine atmosphere in Charlotte, and almost everyone stuck around for the fourth quarter.
Best catch: Brandon LaFell had a stunning 32-yarder in double coverage for the Panthers in the fourth quarter.
Best start: Carolina jumped to a 13-0 lead that really could have been as much as 21-0 on the defending Super Bowl champs.
Best comeback: Green Bay then scored 23 consecutive points to take a 23-13 lead into the fourth quarter.
Best receiver: Steve Smith broke open for 156 receiving yards, giving him two games of 150-plus yards in two weeks.
Worst fumble: Smith was carrying the ball way too far from his body after one reception and ended up getting it stripped away for a costly turnover.
Best running back (running category): Green Bay's James Starks constantly gashed the Panther defense, ending up with 9 carries for 85 yards.
Best running back (receiving category): Who knew that Jonathan Stewart could catch the ball so well? Constantly used as a safety valve by Newton, he ended up with eight catches for an even 100 yards.
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