JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP)—David Garrard squeezed through a hole, sliced left and found an open lane to the end zone. He was closing in on the goal line when Will Blackmon caught him from behind and slapped the ball away.
It bounced right into Garrard’s arms as he fell to the ground, giving Jacksonville a much-needed break and leaving Green Bay with another familiar-feeling loss.
Garrard threw for 238 yards and two touchdowns, ran for 31 yards and the Jaguars snapped a four-game losing streak with a 20-16 victory over the Packers on Sunday.
“It’s been awhile,” Jaguars coach Jack Del Rio said. “It was a happy locker room.”
The Jaguars (5-9) won at home for the first time since September, ended Green Bay’s slim playoff chances and left the Packers (5-9) arguing, pointing fingers and searching for answers after another fourth-quarter collapse.
“We shouldn’t be having this miscommunication in Week 15 of the season,” quarterback Aaron Rodgers said. “Disappointing. You get an opportunity to win the game down the stretch and can’t do it.”
The Packers might have had reason to bicker. After all, they lost on a late drive for the third consecutive week. Carolina beat Green Bay 35-31 two weeks ago with a 55-yard drive in the final two minutes. Houston kicked a field goal as time expired in last week’s 24-21 victory.
The Packers entered the final quarter with a 13-7 lead, poised to snap a three-game slide, but Garrard directed two scoring drives that gave Jacksonville its second win in eight games.
The turnaround started with the first play of the fourth. On fourth-and-1 at the Jacksonville 44, the Jaguars stuffed fullback John Kuhn up the middle. It was one of many problems the Packers had in short-yardage situations.
“That was the turning point in the game,” Jaguars defensive end Paul Spicer said. “The momentum could have gone either way.”
Garrard took over from there. He converted a fourth-down play with a 4-yard run, completed a couple of short passes to Reggie Williams and then beat an all-out blitz by finding Jones-Drew over the middle for a 14-yard touchdown.
The Packers went back in front, 16-14, on Mason Crosby’s third field goal. But Garrard and the Jaguars answered against Green Bay’s porous defense.
The second drive was even more efficient that the first, with Garrard hooking up with Northcutt for a 41-yard gain—the Jaguars had been the only NFL team without a pass play of at least 40 yards—and later scrambling for 16 yards on third down.
His fortuitous fumble at the end of the run was key, though.
“Luckily some angels kept the ball close enough and I was able to corral it and not give up a terrible play,” Garrard said.
Jones-Drew scored on the next play, putting Jacksonville ahead for good. Jones-Drew, starting in place of Fred Taylor, finished with 48 yards rushing and 22 yards receiving. Northcutt caught five passes for 127 yards and a touchdown, a 31-yarder on the game’s opening drive.
Green Bay had a final chance to win, but Reggie Nelson intercepted Aaron Rodgers’ pass over the middle with 40 seconds remaining.
The defense was the Packers’ biggest problem—again. Green Bay failed to generate much pressure on Garrard, and defenders spent much of the fourth quarter squabbling with each other and pointing fingers.
“We had opportunities and didn’t capitalize on those opportunities,” safety Charles Woodson said. “I don’t know what you do. At this point, we’re not good at all. We’re just not very good.”
The Packers might have won had they not had to settle for two short field goals in the first half. … Jaguars LB Daryl Smith (groin) left the game late in the third and did not return. … Jaguars won despite missing a field goal (Josh Scobee has missed four in last four games), dropping two passes on third down, blowing several coverages, having two plays reversed on challenges and failing to down two punts that bounced inside the 10-yard line.