Christian McCaffrey show early for Panthers against Packers

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The loss pretty much takes Green Bay out of the playoff picture, something they haven't experienced since the 2008-09 season. At just 7-6, many would think the Packers wouldn't stand a chance against Carolina given how Green Bay has played in recent weeks.

A late touchdown on classic improvisation by QB Aaron Rodgers gave the Packers a 14-10 lead over the Panthers at halftime on Sunday in Charlotte.

Carolina quarterback Cam Newton outshone Rodgers with 242 passing yards and four touchdowns as Carolina cruised to a 31-24 victory. Rodgers's mobility is a huge weapon, and him escaping the pocket and making throws like that on the run is a terrifying thought for the rest of the league.

Expecting Aaron Rodgers to return from his eight-week layoff and be the same ol' Rodgers with his surgically repaired collarbone would be a stretch.

The Packers also lost their best receiver Davonte Adams on a helmet-to-helmet hit after an interception. The Packers lost Adams, but Davis kept playing.

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You bring back for the scrambles, for the magnificent touchdown passes, for the plays that can't make. After initially ruling the pass incomplete, a replay review determined Byrd's butt cheeks touched down in bounds before his back landed out of bounds.

Newton found Olsen for a 30-yard touchdown pass early in the third quarter before another score minutes later to Damiere Byrd.

- The return of Rodgers did little for Jordy Nelson, who finished with three catches for 28 yards.

After rushing for 63 yards on 12 carries on Sunday, McCaffrey now has 382 rushing yards and two touchdowns on the season. McCaffrey scored a receiving touchdown and was second on the team in receiving with 73 yards, behind only TE Greg Olsen's nine receptions for 116 yards. Bush caught The record for a rookie running back is 88, set by Reggie Bush in 2006.