It's midweek again, and that means it's time for our latest series history post. Today, I will be covering the Packers' history against the Carolina Panthers. At present, the Packers lead the regular season series 7-4, and also hold a 1-0 edge in postseason play.
The Panthers entered the NFL in 1995, and the following year they were among the best teams in the NFL. The Dom Capers-coached team boasted the second-ranked defense in terms of scoring, and then defeated the Cowboys in the playoffs while many Packers fans were clamoring for a highly-anticipated rematch against Dallas at Lambeau Field. Instead, the Packers would face the Carolina Panthers for the right to go to Super Bowl XXXI.
The Panthers led early, but the Packers struck back, thanks in large part to a career day from Dorsey Levens, who tortured the Panthers' defense both as a running back and a receiver in the first half. In the second half, Levens took a screen pass and rumbled 66 yards all the way to the Panthers' 4-yard line, setting up the Super Bowl-clinching score a play later. The Packers won, 30-13.
In 1997 and 1998, the Packers made visits to Charlotte, defeating the Panthers both times. In the next two games, however, Carolina would get its payback. In 1999, the Panthers came into Lambeau Field, and despite rushing for only 13 yards all game, Steve Beuerlein scrambled for a five-yard touchdown late to defeat the Packers 33-31. This game also featured Ray Rhodes inexplicably not challenging a Carolina touchdown, and he would be let go a few weeks later, after just one year as Packers' coach.
The Panthers also blew out the Packers in Carolina in 2000. The following year, the Packers avenged this loss by defeating the Panthers, 28-7, helping set into motion Carolina's-then NFL record-15 game losing streak (the Packers game was loss #2 in this streak).
In 2002, the Packers hosted the Panthers in Week 4. Carolina had a rookie named Julius Peppers (whatever happened to him, anyway?) and came into the game determined to show their 3-0 start wasn't a fluke. The Packers scored their first touchdown on a trick play, as Bubba Franks threw a touchdown pass to Donald Driver and led 10-7 at the half. They then retook the lead 17-14 in the fourth quarter on a touchdown from Brett Favre to Driver. The Panthers drove deep into Green Bay territory, only to see Shayne Graham shank a chip shot field goal as the Packers held on for a late win.
The Panthers, fresh off a Super Bowl loss in 2004, got their season started on the wrong foot as the Packers defeated them, 24-14, in Carolina. A year later, the Panthers would finally defeat the Packers, 32-29, as a Green Bay rally ran out of time.
The two teams then met for the "Senior Bowl" in 2007, with Brett Favre facing Vinny Testaverde. The Packers would win, helped by a touchdown return by Tramon Williams off a pooch punt by kicker John Kasay, and improved to 9-1 at the time. The following year, with Aaron Rodgers at the helm, the Packers led late, only to have the defense give up a 55-yard pass. This big play set up Carolina's game-winning touchdown as the Panthers won, 35-31.
The most recent game between the teams took place in 2011. Cam Newton, making his second NFL start, faced the Packers, fresh off a Super Bowl victory the year previous. The game was tough, as Carolina led 13-0 early before the Packers stormed back to win 30-23. This win would also prove costly, as Pro Bowl safety Nick Collins suffered a career-ending neck injury.
What are your memories of the Packers playing the Panthers?