CHARLOTTE – Packers K Anders Carlson's 32-yard field goal with 19 seconds left gave the Packers a 33-30 victory over the Panthers on Sunday at Bank of America Stadium.
Green Bay was in total control after three quarters, leading 30-16. But back-to-back three-and-outs by the offense amidst two TD drives by the Panthers tied the game, forcing the Packers to score once more to get the win.
A 36-yard reception by WR Romeo Doubs that was upheld despite a Panthers challenge, followed by a catch-and-run by TE Tucker Kraft, got the Packers into field-goal range and allowed them to run the clock down before kicking the field goal.
The Panthers got one final shot with 19 seconds left, and completions to WRs DJ Chark and Adam Thielen put the ball on the Green Bay 31, with the Panthers rushing up to spike the ball before the clock expired. After a discussion by the officials, it was ruled QB Bryce Young's spike hit the ground when the clock hit zero, so the game was determined as over.
The Packers improved to 7-8 with the win and kept their playoff hopes alive. The Panthers fell to 2-13.
For the Packers, QB Jordan Love was 17-of-28 for 219 yards with two TDs and no INTs for a 109.1 passer rating. Doubs caught four passes for 79 yards and a TD, while Kraft had four catches for 60 yards. WR Bo Melton added four catches for 44 yards, and WR Dontayvion Wicks added two catches for 29 yards and a score before leaving the game with a chest injury.
RB Aaron Jones turned in the Packers' first 100-yard performance by a perimeter player this season, rushing for 127 yards on 21 carries.
For the Panthers, Young was 23-of-35 for 312 yards, two TDs and a 113.0 rating. It was the rookie No. 1 overall pick's first 300-yard game and 100 passer rating. RB Chuba Hubbard had 16 carries for 43 yards and a TD, while Chark had six catches for 98 yards and two scores. Thielen added six catches for 94 yards.
Here's a recap of all the action:
Packers lead Panthers 7-3 after first quarter
The Packers won the coin toss and deferred. Green Bay's defense earned a three-and-out, with Preston Smith and Quay Walker splitting a sack of Bryce Young on second-and-1. However, the Panthers maintained possession of the ball when Lukas Van Ness was called for roughing the punter after making contact with Johnny Hekker's plant leg.
Green Bay earned another three-and-out, though, after holding Chuba Hubbard to 1-yard on two carries and then Young throwing an incompletion on third-and-9.
With the Packers taking over at their 20, Aaron Jones busted back-to-back runs of 10 and 13 yards. The veteran running back moved Green Bay across midfield with an 8-yard gain off a pass in the flat.
Love then hit rookie tight end Tucker Kraft on a 27-yard play-action pass. Bo Melton helped open up the sideline for Kraft, who finished the play by hurdler a tackler. It was Kraft's third straight game with a reception of more than 25 yards. He's the first Green Bay rookie tight end to do that since 2000.
Jones gained 12 yards on the next carry before Romeo Doubs drew a defensive pass interference penalty against Vonn Bell. On first-and-goal, AJ Dillon powered forward for the 1-yard touchdown to put Green Bay ahead 7-0 with 7 minutes, 30 seconds left in the first quarter. The seven-play, 80-yard drive lasted 3:58.
Young connected with tight end Tommy Tremble for a 32-yard gain on the Panthers' next possession, setting up a 52-yard Eddie Pineiro that cut Green Bay's lead to 7-3 with 5:24 left in the first quarter.
Jones broke a season-long 39-yard run up the right sideline to open Green Bay's next possession. Second-year receiver Bo Melton then leapt for a 17-yard reception before gaining seven yards on a double-reverse.
Kraft also jumped for an 8-yard gain on third-and-7, setting up first-and-goal at the Panthers' 2.
Packers lead Panthers 23-10 at halftime
The Packers opened the second quarter with Love's third-and-goal sneak for the touchdown, pushing Green Bay's lead to 13-3 after Anders Carlson missed the extra point wide left following a high snap.
The Panthers answered with an eight-play, 77-yard drive that ended with a Ihmir Smith-Marsette end around for 20-yard touchdown run to cut the deficit to 13-10 with 10:29 left in the first half. The Panthers converted two third-and-longs on the drive – a 19-yard pass to D.J. Chark Jr. and a 17-yard slant to Adam Thielen.
Love hit Romeo Doubs on a 12-yard slant to start the Packers' third drive. Love scrambled for 11 yards to set up a third-and-1, which Yetur Gross-Matos was flagged for roughing the pass. The penalty moved Green Bay to the Carolina 38.
The Packers scored on their third straight possession on a career-long 53-yard field goal from Carlson to move Green Bay's lead to 16-10 with 7:51 left in the first half.
Young completed back-to-back passes to Tremble (for 11) and Smith-Marsette (for 18) but the Packers' defense held its ground on four straight runs. Lukas Van Ness and Jaire Alexander combined for the tackle for a 2-yard loss on Chuba Hubbard on fourth-and-2, leading to the turnover on downs.
Melton found a soft spot in the Carolina secondary for a 14-yard catch to get Green Bay's next drive going. A 6-yard rollout to Kraft and a 3-yard dive by Jones up the middle earned the Packers a first down at the two-minute warning.
On third-and-10, Carolina sent a blitz on third-and-10 from the Panthers' 34 but Love found Melton on a crosser for an 11-yard pickup. On third-and-8, Love stepped up and hit Dontayvion Wicks for a 21-yard touchdown to extend Green Bay's lead to 23-10.
It was Wicks' 17th "explosive" catch of 16 or more yards, breaking his tie with Greg Jennings for most by a Packers rookie since 2000.
Green Bay got the ball back with 18 seconds left and all three timeouts. Donte Jackson was called for defensive pass interference on Doubs, a 16-yard penalty, but Love's Hail Mary at the end of the half.
Packers lead Panthers 23-16 after three
It was announced Dontayvion Wicks suffered a chest injury and he did not return. The Packers went three-and-out coming out of the break after Frankie Luvu sacked Love for a 12-yard loss on second-and-5. Daniel Whelan's 54-yard punt pushed Carolina back to the 28.
The Panthers countered with a 14-play, 72-yard scoring drive that ended in a 4-yard Hubbard touchdown run to pull Carolina back within one score, 23-16, with 5:11 remaining after Pineiro missed the extra point wide left.
Love found Doubs across the middle for a 28-yard gain. Luvu forced a fumble at the end of the play, but Josiah Deguara jumped on the ball at the Carolina 33 to maintain possession.
Jones carried the ball four straight times, gaining 25 yards and moving Green Bay into first-and-goal from the Carolina 7.
Packers outlast Panthers, 33-30
On the first play of the fourth quarter, Love threw a 3-yard touchdown to Doubs on a goal-line fade to extend Green Bay's lead to 30-16 with 14:57 left in the game.
Carolina got the initial first down on Thielen's one-handed catch for 16, but the Packers forced the punt after Rashan Gary stopped Miles Sanders for no gain on second-and-4.
Green Bay went three-and-out on its next possession after Love's third-and-9 pass to Melton. Whelan's 48-yard punt was fair caught at the Carolina 40 with 11:38 left.
The Panthers moved the ball down to the Green Bay 23 with Smith-Marsette's 11-yard end around, but Carolina was flagged for a personal foul. Smith sacked Young for a 7-yard loss on the next play.
The Panthers converted a third-and-12 with a 17-yard pass to Chark on a slant. Chark fumbled but recovered the ball. Devonte Wyatt was flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct after the play, giving Carolina first down at the Green Bay 11.
Young found Chark for an 11-yard touchdown with 7:14 remaining. The Panthers initially tried for the two-point conversion but was called for holding. Pineiro then missed the 43-yard extra point, leaving Green Bay's lead at 30-22.
Jones gained five yards on first down, but the Packers went three-and-out with 5:55 remaining. On third-and-2, Young hit Tremble for a first down. The ball moved to the Green Bay 27 after a personal foul.
A 17-yard pass to Thielen set up first-and-goal at the Green Bay 10. Young scrambled and found Chark, who dragged his toes for the 10-yard touchdown with 4:05 left.
Carolina tied the game at 30 with a successful two-point conversion off a Raheem Blackshear run. Love connected with Doubs on a career-long 36-yard catch down the left sideline. Carolina challenged but the ruling on the field stood.
After the two-minute warning, Love threaded a 20-yard pass to Kraft to the Panthers' 13. Carolina used its third and final timeout with 1:52 remaining after Jones was stopped for a 3-yard loss.
The Packers called timeout with 22 seconds left. Carlson made a 32-yard field goal to take a 33-30 lead with 19 seconds left.
Chark caught a 22-yard pass to get the Panthers to their 47. Thielen caught a 22-yard pass across the middle and the Panthers were unable to get the spike down before time expired.