It turns out Aaron Rodgers was right to tell Packers fans to R-E-L-A-X, as the new sign up in Lambeau Field tells us. Rodgers put in one of his finest displays in a Packers uniform today as he threw for 255 yards and three touchdowns on 19/22 passing for a 154.5 passer rating.
The Packers wasted no time opening the scoring on a penalty aided drive. Green Bay converted a 3rd and 2 from their own 41 after Rodgers drew the Panthers offside on back-to-back plays. He made them pay on the shortened third down, completing a 59 yard touchdown pass to Jordy Nelson. The former Kansas State Wildcat made the catch before eluding two defenders, and he took it in for the score.
The Green Bay defense was outstanding today, and they were swarming all over the field from the get-go. Carolina was forced into three-and-outs on their first three drives, and Green Bay's offense just kept coming. After getting the ball back, they marched right down the field and Eddie Lacy pounded the ball in. On their next drive, it was Lacy again the driving force, although it would be his backfield partner James Starks who pounded in the touchdown for a 21-0 lead.
Not surprisingly after that flying opening first quarter, they finally had to punt early in the second. People across Wisconsin had no need to worry as the defense continued to shut down Carolina, and once the ball was back in Rodgers' hands he made no mistake leading the Packers right back down the field on a 94 yard drive that culminated in a touchdown grab for Randall Cobb.
Carolina's offense finally did something worthy of note just before the half as Cam Newton led them down the field to kick a field goal as time expired in the first half. Newton did not look himself today, and their offense struggled all day long. He will need to improve for them to make the playoffs this season.
Green Bay kept their foot on the gas pedal at the start of the second half, stopping Carolina and then going straight down the field. Rodgers found yet another of his fantastic wide receivers in Davante Adams for a touchdown to put them up 35-3.
Carolina's starters were still unable to muster anything on offense, and Newton would be lifted early in the fourth quarter. Today he truly was the perfect foil for Rodgers, who was magisterial yet again. He led Green Bay on their final scoring drive of the game at the end of the third quarter as Mason Crosby kicked a field goal to put them even further ahead at 38-3.
In the fourth quarter, the Pack took their foot off the throttle, and Newton and Carolina back-up Derek Anderson would each throw a touchdown pass; Newton completing one to rookie sensation Kelvin Benjamin and Anderson throwing his to tight end Brenton Bersin.
The final score of 38-17 really did not tell the story of Green Bay's domination in this one, and they certainly look a Super Bowl contender. They remain unbeaten at Lambeau and 4-0 since Rodgers uttered "R-E-L-A-X". Tied with Detroit at 5-2 for first place in the NFC Central and just a half game out first place in the conference, they look the team to beat in the NFC.