Packers rout Carolina 38-17, Rodgers has 3 TDs

October 20, 2014

Green Bay Packers players are introduced before an NFL football game
against the Carolina Panthers

GREEN BAY, Wis.  Randall Cobb got messy on his Lambeau Leap.

A fan spilled ketchup on the receiver's uniform during his post-touchdown celebration in the second quarter of Green Bay's 38-17 win Sunday over the Carolina Panthers.

It was about the only stain on an otherwise flawless first half for the Packers.

Aaron Rodgers threw three touchdown passes, Cobb torched the Carolina secondary for 121 yards and a score on six catches and Green Bay dominated after building a 28-3 lead at halftime.

The sure-tackling Packers (5-2) limited quarterback Cam Newton. Green Bay scored on its first three series, and the 25-point lead at halftime eliminated the threat of the Panthers' ground game.

Green Bay Packers' Randall Cobb catches a pass in front of Carolina Panthers'
Thomas Davis (58) during the second half.

Green Bay Packers' Jordy Nelson (87) is congratulated by teammate Randall Cobb after Nelson's touchdown catch during the first half.

Cobb said it might have been the team's most complete performance of the season.

"It definitely was a great game for us offensively, being able to put things together the way we did with the run, with the pass, play-action," Cobb said. "So as long as we can continue to execute the game plan and make plays, we're going to continue to have these types of wins."

It even makes the ketchup bath worth it.

"I apologize to whoever's hot dog that was. It was fresh. I know that because I had all of the ketchup on me," Cobb said.

Carolina Panthers' Luke Kuechly is confronted by back judge Steve Freeman during the second half of an NFL football game against the Green Bay Packers Sunday, Oct. 19, 2014, in Green Bay, Wis. Kuechly was ejected from the game.

Newton, who had a career-high 17 carries last week, had 41 yards rushing on seven attempts. He passed for 205 yards and a fourth-quarter touchdown for Carolina (3-3-1).

"What I did wasn't good enough and I understand that," Newton said.

His Packers counterpart was masterful against the Carolina defense. The 2011 MVP was 19 of 22 for 255 yards before leaving early in the fourth quarter with the game well in hand.

"We had 21 first-quarter points ... which made them one-dimensional," Rodgers said, "especially with the way that Cam ran the ball last week."

It was Rodgers' sixth straight game without an interception, tying Bart Starr for the franchise record set in 1964. Rodgers finished Sunday with a quarterback rating of 154.5, and the Packers said he was just the second player in NFL history with a rating of 150 or more in two of the first seven games of the season.

Coach Mike McCarthy said Rodgers is much better than three seasons ago. Rodgers thought he could do more.

Carolina coach Ron Rivera saw more than enough.

"It's a well-developed offense. They have great communication," Rivera said. "That's what Aaron Rodgers has developed with his players."

Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers celebrates a touchdown pass to Davante Adams (17) during the second half.

The Packers scored on their first series after Rodgers connected with Jordy Nelson for a 59-yard scoring strike and never looked back to win their fourth straight. Eddie Lacy and James Starks each added rushing touchdowns in the first half.

The Panthers finally got their first touchdown with 9:39 left in the fourth quarter after Newton found receiver Kelvin Benjamin for a 13-yard score.

Packers fans still celebrated with their team up by 28, belting out a hearty chorus of the "Beer Barrel Polka" during the break.

Nearly everything went right for the Packers in the first half, when nearly everything went wrong for the Panthers.

Carolina had pushed Green Bay back to third-and-12 on the Packers 28 on the first drive when the Panthers were whistled for two straight neutral zone infractions. Rodgers scrambled for three yards on third-and-2 before finding Nelson for the long touchdown pass.

Nelson got behind cornerback Antoine Cason, who then slipped. Safety Roman Harper watched Nelson sidestep around him and jog all the way into the end zone.

"It was an excellent read by Aaron," McCarthy said. "Big-play production that's how you win in this league."

Green Bay Packers' Casey Hayward celebrates after intercepting a pass during the second half.

Green Bay's next drive ended with Lacy high-stepping into the end zone for a 5-yard touchdown and a 14-0 lead with 5:53 left in the first quarter.

Carolina's frustration mounted as the deficit grew.

Linebacker Luke Kuechly was ejected late in the third quarter. Last season's Defensive Player of the Year swung his arms and seemed agitated as he was restrained from behind by back judge Steve Freeman following a scramble for a fumble recovered by the Packers.

The linebacker calmed down when he turned around and saw the official, who threw a flag with about two minutes left in the quarter. Kuechly said he didn't mean to do it.

NOTES: Carolina WR Philly Brown left in the second half with a concussion. ... Backup QB Derek Anderson connected with WR Brenton Bersin for a 1-yard TD pass late with 1:24 in the fourth quarter. ... For the Packers, Starks left the game with a left ankle injury, while CB Davon House left with a finger injury. ... Lacy finished with 63 yards on 12 carries.

Tannehill leads Dolphins past Bears 27-14

CHICAGO    Brandon Marshall said it over and over again, more than a dozen times in all. The loss to Miami, Chicago's home record, the Bears' sputtering start to the season all unacceptable to the Pro Bowl wide receiver.

The Bears showed more fight in the postgame locker room than they did on the field during a 27-14 loss to the Dolphins on Sunday. Matt Forte scored two second-half touchdowns, but Chicago's rally fizzled in the fourth quarter as its winless start at home reached three games.

"It's unacceptable. We're 3-4. It's halfways into the season," Marshall said. "It's unacceptable. Want me to say it again? Unacceptable."

Miami Dolphins cornerback Brent Grimes (21) tackles Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler (6) during the second half of an NFL football game Sunday, Oct. 19, 2014 in Chicago.

The Bears had just 224 yards of offense in their fifth loss in their last seven games at Soldier Field, dating to last year. Jeremiah Ratliff had a career-best 3 1/2 sacks, but Chicago was unable to stop Ryan Tannehill in an efficient performance for the third-year quarterback.

"This was a very, very disappointing loss to our football team," coach Marc Trestman said.

That frustration was evident in the postgame locker room, where there was some sort of shouting match before the media were allowed into the room. It was unclear who was involved, but the raised voices could be heard in the concrete corridors of Chicago's longtime home.

"Disappointed, and I'm pretty sure everyone in the locker room is," Ratliff said.

Jay Cutler threw an interception and lost a fumble as Chicago (3-4) dropped to 0-4 when he throws at least one pick. He was 21 for 34 for 190 yards after he threw for 381 yards in last Sunday's 27-13 victory at Atlanta.

Tannehill connected on his first 14 passes and was 25 of 32 overall, helping Miami bounce back from a brutal 27-24 loss to Green Bay. It looked as if the Dolphins were on their way to a big win over the Packers before Aaron Rodgers threw a 4-yard touchdown pass in the final seconds.

Miami Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill (17) talks to Chicago Bears wide receiver Brandon Marshall (15) after their NFL football game.

Tannehill finished with 277 yards and two touchdowns through the air, to go along with 48 yards on six carries.

"We were making plays on offense. I think the guys were getting open, and we were able to hit them," he said. "That's the name of the game is to have protection, the guys get open and me make the throw. We were able to put it together today as an offense."

Lamar Miller also had a 2-yard touchdown run for the Dolphins (3-3), who had lost three of four since an opening victory over New England.

The Bears trailed 14-0 before Cutler passed to a wide-open Forte for a 10-yard touchdown on their first possession of the second half.

Miami responded with a 13-play, 81-yard drive that ended with Miller's fourth rushing touchdown in the last three games. Tannehill set up the key score with a 30-yard run on fourth-and-1.

Forte added a 1-yard touchdown run in the fourth, but that was it for the Bears. Cameron Wake had a strip sack and fumble recovery, and Caleb Sturgis kicked two field goals to help the Dolphins put it away.

"Coming off a really tough loss last week, we had to turn the page," Wake said. "We had a great week of practice, great week of preparation, I think the confidence just ran the locker room as a whole."

Miami got off to an inauspicious start when Tannehill was sacked by Ratliff on its first play from scrimmage. But the Dolphins quickly made up for lost time.

Tannehill threw for 176 yards in the first half, picking apart Chicago's defense with ease. He found tight end Charles Clay for 13-yard score, and then had a 10-yard TD pass to Mike Wallace in the back of the end zone.

Meanwhile, the Bears looked listless and out of sorts. Linebacker Shea McClellin, back after being sidelined since Week 2 by a hand injury, slipped in coverage on Clay's TD, and the offense was hurt by curious play calling and Cutler's seventh interception.

NOTES: The Bears lost rookie CB Kyle Fuller to a hip injury in the third quarter. He was first announced as questionable to return, but the Bears announced in the fourth that he would miss the rest of the game. ... Miami improved to 4-1 at Chicago. The Dolphins also won in their previous trip to Soldier Field, 31-13 on Nov. 5, 2006.


Associated Press