Jacksonville Jaguars fell to Green Bay 24-20 at Lambeau Field last Sunday. But it was not an easy NFL victory for the Packers on a rainy and windy afternoon.
“I think if you watch the game, with the amount, with way the field position, with the way punting, with the way the kicking, the wind was swirling,” said Jaguars head coach Doug Marrone. “You know, normally…actually it was a cross-the-field wind which you don’t usually get here in Green Bay, so that was a little bit different. So, yes, it did have…at least for me, I felt it did influence the game.”
A touchdown drive and two defensive stops down the stretch helped Green Bay overcome mistakes that almost allowed one-win Jaguars to steal a road game.
Jacksonville quarterback Jake Luton completed 18-of-35 passes for 169 yards and one touchdown, a 12-yard strike to wide receiver Keelan Cole in the third quarter.
Cole returned a punt 91 yards for a score in the second quarter, marking the longest punt return in franchise history and the longest punt return by any player in the NFL this season. Cole became the first player in club history to return a punt for a TD and catch a TD pass in the same game.
Jaguars’ running back James Robinson produced his third 100-yard rushing game of his career, finishing with 109 rushing yards on 23 carries.
The Jaguars (1-8) lost their eighth consecutive game, but were in this one until the end, primarily due to momentum-changing plays.
A fumble by Packers receiver Davante Adams that set up a TD pass to Cole early in the third quarter. And an interception by QB Aaron Rodgers that led to a go-ahead field goal early in the fourth quarter.
All that put the Jaguars up 20-17 and in position for the upset with 12:40 left.
“We played uncharacteristic in a few areas,” said Rodgers who finished with 325 passing yards.
Jaguars cornerback Sidney Jones finished with a career-high nine tackles and one interception.
It was Jones’ second pick this season and fourth of his career. He leads the Jaguars in that stat and one three players this season to intercept Rodgers.
Playing his first career regular season game in his home state, linebacker Joe Schobert finished tied for the team lead with nine tackles. The fifth-year Wisconsin product has started all nine games this season and leads the Jaguars with 71 tackles.
Jacksonville rookie defensive tackle DaVon Hamilton recorded his first career sack when he brought Rodgers down for an 8-yard loss in the second quarter.
“Knowing that we’ve got to knock out the run. I thought we did a good job. I thought we just made some mistakes with some of those runs. But I thought overall, it was good to see the defense looking like they were having some fun out there. I know we gave up plays. I understand that, but I thought they were playing physical,” Marrone said.
Jaguars’ cornerback CJ Henderson finished with three tackles and one forced fumble, marking the first forced fumble of his career. Linebacker Myles Jack recovered the fumble and returned it 16 yards, which leading to Cole’s TD catch.
Jaguars’ kicker Chase McLaughlin connected on both of his field goal attempts in his first game with the Jaguars. McLaughlin’s first made field goal was from 52 yards as he improved to four of four on 50-yard field goals in his two seasons in the NFL.
McLaughlin is the sixth kicker to appear in a game for the Jaguars this season.
Adams’ go-ahead score didn’t close the door on the Jaguars, however.
Luton drove Jacksonville from its own 7 to midfield before three straight incomplete passes led to a punt.
Green Bay (7-2) ouldn’t convert on third-and-1 with 2½ minutes left, though, giving the visitors one more shot, reaching the Green Bay 36-yard line. But back-to-back sacks by Rashan Gary and Preston Smith, put the Jaguars in fourth-and-26, which failed.
The Packers had survived an upset bid.
The Jaguars are home Sunday hosting the undefeated Pittsburgh Steelers. Kickoff is 1 p.m.