The Green Bay Packers entered Sunday's game against the Carolina Panthers knowing it needed to slow down Christian McCaffrey while getting its own running game going.
Check and check.
Packers running back Aaron Jones rushed for three touchdowns and Jones and Jamaal Williams combined for 156 rushing yards as they beat the Panthers 24-16 at snowy Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wis., on Sunday.
On its final possession, Carolina drove into scoring position with an 18-play, 88-yard drive. Quarterback Kyle Allen completed a fourth-and-10 pass to D.J. Moore for a gain of 12 to the 13. On second-and-goal from the 2 with 4 seconds left, Kyle Fackrell made contact with McCaffrey and Preston Smith stopped him just short of the goal line for the Packers (8-2). The ruling was upheld upon review.
McCaffrey, who entered the game leading the NFL in rushing yards per game, scrimmage yards, rushing touchdowns and total touchdowns, rushed 20 times for 108 yards and had six catches for 33 yards but he never hurt the Packers with a game-changing play.
Allen threw for 307 yards and Moore had nine catches for 120 yards for Carolina (5-4).
Jones scored the Packers' first three touchdowns. The first was a 5-yarder that tied the game at 7. The second was a 1-yarder, set up by a fumbled snap by Carolina quarterback Kyle Allen, that put the Packers in front 14-10. The third was a 13-yarder to open the third quarter that made it 21-10. That capped the defining sequence of the game.
A defensive penalty gave Green Bay a first-and-goal at the 1 with 2 seconds left in the first half. Green Bay coach Matt LaFleur decided to go for the touchdown rather than the field goal but defensive tackle Gerald McCoy blasted Williams in the backfield.
Green Bay got the ball to start the second half and immediately faced a second-and-26. With momentum about to swing in the Panthers' direction, Aaron Rodgers hit wide-open receiver Davante Adams for a gain of 38. A 28-yard run by Jones set himself up for his third touchdown and 14th of the season, allowing him to briefly pass McCaffrey for the NFL lead.
McCaffrey tied Jones for the touchdown lead with a 3-yard run early in the fourth quarter. Panthers coach Ron Rivera went for two but safety Adrian Amos broke up Allen's pass to tight end Greg Olsen, leaving the Panthers down 24-16.
Green Bay, which got seven receptions for 118 yards from Adams, enters a bye. Up next: a trip to San Francisco for a game that could loom large in the race for home-field advantage in the NFC playoffs.
--Field Level Media