Starting fast wasn’t a problem for the Carolina Panthers on Sunday. However, this had been a problem in the previous weeks.
Jake Delhomme had previously commented, “We need to start faster. We need to have that edge, that sense of urgency when we come out."
Carolina came out clawing in the first quarter striking first blood with a one-yard rush from DeAngelo Williams.
The second quarter saw more action as Green Bay got on the board with a 32-yard field goal from Mason Crosby. Carolina's Jake Delhomme got his wheels moving with a one-yard touchdown quarterback keeper run keeping Carolina ahead, 14-3.
That didn't last long as Donald Driver received a six-yard pass from Aaron Rodgers. Once again the Panthers answered back as DeAngelo Williams bowled in for a one-yard run.
The third quarter was all Green Bay, with a 44-yard field goal from Mason Crosby then a Donald Lee five-yard TD reception. An Aaron Rodgers pass to Greg Jennings completed a two-point conversion to tie the game 21-21.
Early in the fourth quarter, Green Bay took the lead for the first time with a 21-yard TD pass to Greg Jennings making the score 28-21 Packers. DeAngelo Williams had another one-yard for Carolina to tie the game back at 28-28. Green Bay had another field goal with 1:57 left in the game. It was looking like the Packers may walk away with this win.
A great kick return from Mark Jones set Carolina up at the Carolina 45-yard line. In the shotgun, Jake Delhomme throws a bomb deep down the middle to Steve Smith, who catches it and advances to the Green Bay one-yard line. This set up a one-yard TD rush for DeAngelo Williams that would eventually win the game 35-31 for Carolina.
DeAngelo Williams' fourth 1-yard TD run of the day gave the Panthers the win as they reached nine wins for the first time since 2005. Williams is the first player since the NFL merger in 1970 to have four one-yard TD runs in a game.
The Packers are 1-4 since their bye week and have allowed 86 points and eight rushing TDs over the last two weeks.
DeAngelo Williams is only 5'10", 217 pounds, but rushed like a rhino this past Sunday. He bulldozed in four times from the one-yard line in Carolina’s 35-31 win over the Green Bay Packers. The four rushing touchdowns set a single-game franchise record.
This is Williams’s fifth-straight game scoring a TD for the Panthers and bumped up his season touchdown total to 11. This is one shy of the team record set by Stephen Davis in 2005.
When asked how difficult was the last catch from Jake Delhomme, Steve Smith responded, “It’s probably a catch that none of you guys could probably make,” as he laughed and looked around at the media contingent surrounding him in the locker room. “Jake threw it out and I went and attacked the ball.”
Jake Delhomme said, “There are two guys playing deep and when they’re flat footed looking at you and Steve is running, you throw it. We’ve done well at home, but we’ve been below average on the road. But we came into a tough place and we scored some points. We had 28 points last week (against Atlanta) and 35 this week. We’re scoring a little bit of points.”
Coach John Fox commented, “Like most pass plays, you can’t tell a quarterback exactly where to go with it. Typically what he does is he has to go with what the defense gives him. He has a lot of confidence in number 89 and he threw a good ball out there. I think it showed a lot about our football team. We stressed all week about starting fast. I think we were able to finish fast, too, which is critical.”
Fox also commented, “This game is full of ebbs and tides. But we made stops when we needed to. That’s the difference in records this time of the year being able to win those type of games and not. [DeAngelo] had to carry more of the load today. When he has, when we've called on him, he's come up. He's done a tremendous job for us."
After the game, defensive end Julius Peppers wasn’t apologizing for his hit on Aaron Rodgers late in the game that drew a 15-yard penalty for unnecessary roughness.
Peppers said, “I’m not trying to judge whether he’s trying to step out of bounds, I’m just going for the hit. I’m not trying to hurt him or anything like that. The last thing I saw he was still out of bounds. A few plays before that he acted like he was going out of bounds and stayed in and got like five extra yards and a first down. I didn’t want to take that chance again. It’s just one of those things. It’s part of the game.”
NEXT WEEK'S MATCHUP
The Panthers (9-3) return home to face Tampa Bay (9-3) for a prime-time Monday Night Football showdown. This game will be pivotal in determining the NFC South champion. Does it get any better than that folks?