In snowy loss, Kyle Allen shows why Panthers teammates believe in him

GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Kyle Allen was hard on himself.

Perhaps too hard.

Yes, the Carolina Panthers quarterback made two costly mistakes -- a fumble and end zone interception -- in Sunday's 24-16 loss to the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field that were, in his words, "the main reason why we lost."

The Panthers (5-4) also were in position to potentially force overtime on the game's final play, a run by Christian McCaffrey that was stopped inches from the goal line, because of Allen.

Tight end Greg Olsen said Allen's performance, particularly in the fourth quarter, was as good as he has seen, considering the Panthers faced one of the NFL's best teams at one of the league's most historic stadiums while being blasted by snow and wind.

"What he did against that defense, against that front pinning their ears back, knowing we had to throw the ball ... was pretty incredible," said Olsen, who caught eight passes for 98 yards. "I thought what he did tonight overall and that fourth quarter was as impressive a quarterback display as I've ever seen."

Not many outside of NFL personnel directors and coaches knew who Allen was before the season. There still were skeptics after the second-year, undrafted quarterback threw three interceptions in a 51-13 loss against undefeated San Francisco after a 4-0 start this season and 5-0 start to his career.

Going toe-to-toe with future Hall of Famer Aaron Rodgers on Rodgers' home turf showed that Allen belongs in the league. The 23-year-old might be the future franchise quarterback with uncertainty surrounding Cam Newton, who is on injured reserve with a Lisfranc injury as he heads into the final year of his contract.

"I love his toughness, his mental toughness," coach Ron Rivera said after the Panthers fell to 5-2 under Allen. "The young man is going to go out there and we're going to learn and we're going to grow with him.

"The young man has done a terrific job. Unfortunately, we just had a couple of bad things happen."

In the end, Allen did far more good things than bad. He completed 28 of 43 pass attempts for a career-high 307 yards and one touchdown. His passer rating of 84.2 was almost identical to the 84.4 from Rodgers, who completed 17 of 29 attempts for 233 yards and no touchdowns.

Allen showed poise and the ability to escape pressure, a few times in a Rodgers-like way.

On the final drive, which began at the Carolina 11, Allen completed his first three passes and five of his first six for 41 yards. On fourth-and-10 from the Green Bay 25, he completed a 12-yarder to DJ Moore.

Allen kept the chains moving as the snow fell harder. He gave the Panthers a chance.

"I thought he fought his ass off," McCaffrey said. "He was managing us. A couple of things here and there, but he didn't let it faze him."

If the Panthers had any doubt whether Allen could lead them in big games, they ended on Sunday.

"We all have a lot of confidence in what Kyle can do," Olsen said. "We all know the circumstances that are in play. He's handled it incredibly well. His poise, his maturity, his performances. Tonight, it's hard to say we were amazing because we scored 16 points.

"[But] when you look at what he did specifically, leading our offense, [it] is really impressive."