Rodgers, Packers too much for Panthers

Posted Sept. 18, 2011 @ 4:46 p.m.
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By AARON BEARD, AP Sports Writer

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Aaron Rodgers threw for 308 yards and two scores, while the Green Bay Packers withstood another 400-yard passing day from Carolina rookie Cam Newton to beat the Panthers 30-23 on Sunday.

A week after throwing for 422 yards, Newton topped himself by throwing for 432 yards and a touchdown. He also ran for a 4-yard touchdown with 37 seconds left to bring Carolina (0-2) within seven, but the Packers (2-0) recovered the onside kick to seal the victory.

Rodgers found Greg Jennings for a 49-yard touchdown early in the third quarter to put the Packers ahead for good. Then, after Clay Matthews stopped Newton on a fourth-down run inside the 5, Rodgers found Jordy Nelson for an 84-yard touchdown to make it a two-possession game and help the Packers hang on.

While Newton had another big yardage day, the Packers' defense came up big by forcing the rookie into three interceptions - two by Charles Woodson. In addition, linebacker Clay Matthews managed to pull down Newton from behind on a fourth-down keeper inside the 5 to end a Panthers drive for the tying touchdown.

Two plays later, Rodgers found Nelson on the left side and the receiver sprinted down the sideline and all the way to the end zone to push the lead to 30-16 with 2:14 left.

Newton couldn't have asked for a better start in his home debut, throwing for a touchdown on his first drive as the Panthers ran out to a 13-0 lead against the defending Super Bowl champions. But Rodgers and the Packers offense - which spent most of the first quarter on the sideline - finally got in rhythm and ran off 23 straight points. Mason Crosby kicked three field goals, while John Kuhn added a goal line plunge for the Packers' first touchdown of the day.

Game stats

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