Aaron Rodgers returned but ultimately it was turnovers that may have doomed the Packers playoff hopes. And so the Packers needed fewer interceptions and more from its generational quarterback than his 287 yards and three touchdowns, surgically repaired shoulder or not.
The Packers released quarterback, who had been backing up while Rodgers was on IR, to clear a spot.
Not that the Packers didn't make it interesting.
Rodgers was 26 of 45 for 290 yards and three touchdowns.
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It was a freakish day in Charlotte following the serious allegations reported against Panthers owner Jerry Richardson, but the Panthers and Packers appeared to be putting on a good distraction early on. Coach Mike McCarthy didn't commit one way or the other after the game Sunday.
Of course, it wasn't Rodgers who turned it over on what could have been an overtime-forcing drive. But he had been practicing for almost two full weeks, running the Packers' scout-team offense, on the first day he was eligible to practice allowed by the league's IR rules.
AARON RODGERS threw three interceptions on his return from a broken collarbone as Green Bay's playoff hopes all but ended. He threw a 13-yard laser to Davante Adams that tied the game at 7-7.
On his first interception, Rodgers threw deep down the left sideline for Adams, but he threw off his back foot because the Panthers defensive line collapsed his pocket.
Rodgers, who missed seven games and underwent surgery to fix his broken right clavicle, has experience coming back from a similar injury.
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After so many weeks away from the game, that's to be expected from any any player, even one as talented as Rodgers.
But the Packers couldn't keep up defensively after regaining its composure a bit in the second quarter. Cam Newton threw for 242 yards and 4-touchdowns. Two days prior to the game, the Panthers announced they had opened an investigation into allegations of workplace misconduct involving owner Jerry Richardson. But those were empty possessions the Packers couldn't afford.
And then again Rodgers's underthrown ball cost the team, this time later in the quarter.
Rodgers wasn't completely done.
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Quarterback Nick Foles threw four touchdown passes as Philadelphia (12-2) held off NY (2-12). Get the app and get the game. Randall Cobb took a flip from Rodgers and danced his way into the endzone for a 33-yard score. The Panthers extended the lead to 31-17 in the fourth quarter, until Rodgers connected with Richard Rodgers with 2:43 left to pull the Packers within seven at 31-24.
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