In a dramatic finish, the Green Bay Packers held onto an eight-point lead to defeat the Carolina Panthers 24-16.
It really is a game of inches.
Christian McCaffrey couldn’t have come much closer to scoring a potential game-tying touchdown as time expired at Lambeau Field. But in the frozen, snowy conditions in Green Bay, the decision that he was short of the goal line stood, and the Green Bay Packers held onto a crucial victory over the Carolina Panthers.
In a battle of two playoff contenders, both teams also had to deal with difficult conditions on the field. The snow not only affected visibility but also players’ footing. A number of players slipped up on the wet and frozen field.
Aaron Jones had no problem with the weather. It was yet another huge performance by the Packers’ lead back. He turned 13 carries into 93 yards at an average of 7.2 yards per attempt, and he also scored all three of the Packers’ touchdowns.
Jamaal Williams played his part, finishing with 63 yards from his 13 attempts at a healthy average of 4.8 yards per carry.
On defense, the Smith Bros. continued their dominant season. Preston Smith had two sacks and four quarterback hits. Za’Darius Smith didn’t make a sack, but he contributed with three quarterback hits and consistent pressure.
It’s a performance Matt LaFleur will be pleased with. The Packers achieved balance on offense throughout the game, limited the Panthers to 16 points, and won the turnover battle. One area he’ll be frustrated with is the number of penalties given up. The Packers had 10 penalties, something they’ll need to address during the bye week.
And the bye comes at a good time. The Packers have now played for 10 weeks straight, and they have an impressive 8-2 record to show for it. Next up is perhaps their biggest challenge yet, on the road against the undefeated San Francisco 49ers. They now have two weeks to prepare for not only the 49ers, but the final six games of the season.
The Packers were aiming to bounce back after last week’s embarrassing performance. They achieved that and enter the bye week in a strong position.