Packers-Panthers game notes

Packers were ready for Panthers pooch punt; Seniors Day at Lambeau; takeaways add up

Chalk Tramon Williams' 94-yard punt return for a touchdown in the first quarter to good coaching. The Packers had every reason to believe that the Panthers might fake a 52-yard field goal attempt in the first quarter and pooch punt the ball, and they were prepared.

"It was something we practiced all week," said Packers coach Mike McCarthy. "Mike Stock (special teams coach) felt that he has something on the alignment of the kicker. Tramon did a very good job fielding the ball. That's what happens. I've been on the other side of that before, when you have your field goal placement team on the field and you have to cover the kick. Our guys just did a great job finishing the play and it was an excellent run by Tramon."

Williams, lined up at the 10 yard line, fielded the ball at the 6, got a key block from Johnny Jolly on Carolina'a Justin Hartwig and was off to the races. After bumping into teammate Jason Hunter, Williams broke into open in front of the Packers' bench and was escorted into the end zone by Hunter and a few other Packers blockers.

"I saw a lot of open field, just run, and don't get caught by no big guys or nothing like that," Williams said. "I had the holder (Jason Baker) cut me off, and I had to cut back on him. That's when I ran into Jason (Hunter), but after that I kept my balance, stayed on the sideline and ran."

The return for a touchdown was Williams' first ever and tied for the second-longest punt return in team history. Mark Lee also returned a punt 94 yards for a score against the New York Giants on Nov. 8, 1981. The team's longest is Steve Odom's 95-yard return against the Chicago Bears on Nov. 10, 1974. It was the first Packers punt return for a touchdown since Antonio Chatman ran one back for 85 yards on Dec. 25, 2005 against Chicago. It also was the longest punt return ever by a Panthers opponent, surpassing the 89-yard return for a touchdown by Reggie Swinton versus Detroit (12/21/03), and the first punt return for a touchdown against the Panthers since Santonio Holmes' 65 yarder versus Pittsburgh (12/17/06).

The Panthers used the same fake field goal/pooch punt play in their 20-13 loss to the Atlanta Falcons last week, so the Packers were ready for it.

Williams' return gave the Packers a 7-0 lead and a spark that ignited the team and Lambeau Field crowd.

"A special teams play like that always gets the crowd (going)," Williams said. "A 94-yard return. That's a big play for the first score of the game. We're on a roll, so that just boosts us up more. We just continue to do our duty after that."

Injury update
Running back Ryan Grant injured his ankle late in the fourth quarter, but is expected to play Thursday at Detroit. Panthers defensive tackle Kris Jenkins inadvertently rolled up on Grant's ankle during a running play with 2 minutes, 46 seconds left in the game.

Grant says that he "twisted" his ankle.

"It's not bad," Grant said. "Feels good. It will probably stiffen up a little bit tonight, but I'll be OK. I can jump on it, which is a good thing. If I can jump on it, I'll be OK."

Defensive tackle Johnny Jolly was taken to the locker room for X-rays in the first quarter for a shoulder injury. Jolly sustained the injury while making a key block on Carolina's Justin Hartwig during Tramon Williams' punt return for a touchdown.

Coach Mike McCarthy said that Jolly should be OK to play against the Lions.

Red hot start
With Sunday's win over Carolina, Mike McCarthy is 17-9 at the start of his Green Bay career. No other Packers coach has had a better start. Vince Lombardi was 16-10 after 26 games.

Graybeards
Panthers starting quarterback Vinny Testaverde (44 years, five days old) and Packers starting quarterback Brett Favre (38 years, 39 days old) combined to become the oldest starting quarterback duo in NFL history (82 years, 44 days).

Takeaway/Giveaway
The Packers forced three turnovers to raise their season total to 19. The Packers had 33 takeaways in 2006 (23 interceptions and 10 fumble recoveries). Carolina did not force any turnovers. The Panthers turned it over three times on two interceptions and one fumble to finish with a minus three turnover ratio. The Packers were unable to score off the three Panthers giveaways, but defensive end Aaron Kampman's fumble recovery on Green Bay's 11 late in the second quarter prevented the Panthers from scoring.

He said it
"That's a quality football team. You can't make the mistakes we made. The effort was certainly there, but I think we were down three in the turnover margin, and we had a big turnover there at the end of the first half that probably cost us points. That's a good team and they can score on you in different ways. Their special teams scored for them today and their defense set them up a few times, and they're having one of the better years offensively. They're a good team and we have to play better football to beat good teams.
-- Guard Mike Wahle on his former team

Did not suit up
The following players were not on Green Bay's 45-man game day roster: DT's Colin Cole, Justin Harrell and Danie Muir; TE Bubba Franks; CB Will Blackmon; S Nick Collins; WR Shaun Bodiford; and LB Tracy White.

Carolina did not activate the following players: S C.J. Wilson; G Evan Mathis; OT Frank Omiyale; WR Steve Smith; DT Damione Lewis; DE Charles Johnson; LB Donte Curry. Matt Moore was the Panthers' designated third quarterback.

Extra points
? Safety Aaron Rouse made his first career interception on Carolina's third play from scrimmage. Rouse stepped in front of tight end Jeff King and caught the pass from Vinny Testaverde, giving Green Bay the ball at Carolina's 38. The Packers, however, were unable to capitalize when Mason Crosby's 49-yard field goal attempt was blocked by Julius Peppers.

? WR Donald Driver took his first career snap at quarterback in the first quarter. With Brett Favre split out to the left, Driver ran to the right side for a five-yard gain behind Brandon Jackson. ? Driver, who finished with five catches for 83 yards, has caught a pass in 90 straight games. Driver also became one of four players in team history to produce six 50-catch seasons, joining James Lofton and Sterling Sharpe (both seven), and Antonio Freeman (six).

? While Driver leads the team in receptions with 53, he hasn't caught a touchdown pass since Sept. 23 in Green Bay's 31-24 win over San Diego.

? Brett Favre's three touchdown pass of the game to tight end Donald Lee in the third quarter tied Dan Marino's NFL record with 62 three touchdown pass games.

? Wide receiver Koren Robinson averaged 33.67 yards on three kickoff returns for 101 yards, which stands as the second-highest kickoff return average by a Panthers' opposing player behind Tim Dwight's 42.25 average at Atlanta (10/4/98). Robinson opened the second half with a 67-yard return, setting up a Packers' touchdown.

? Vinny Testaverde became the first quarterback to play an entire game for the Panthers since David Carr played from start to finish versus Tampa Bay (9/30/07).


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