Rodgers throws 2 TDs as Packers beat Jaguars 24-15By NANCY ARMOUR, AP National Writer Monday, Oct 29, 2012
GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP)—After three tough weeks on the road, the Green Bay Packers were finally supposed to have it easy. They were at Lambeau Field, their offense was clicking and, best of all, they had the Jacksonville Jaguars, the NFL’s worst team.
So much for that.
Looking flat and out of sync much of the afternoon Sunday, the Packers needed another score from special teams, a 4-yard touchdown pass from Aaron Rodgers to Donald Driver in the fourth quarter and a makeup field goal by Mason Crosby to hold off the Jaguars in a 24-15 win.
“I’m not sure what it was,” offensive guard T.J. Lang said. “Those guys came in and played with a lot of energy. I don’t know if we underestimated them at all, but they’re a talented team. We’ve just got to make sure that we’re playing more consistent. We can’t allow a team to come in here and play with more energy than we have at our home field. So we’ve got to get that fixed.”
It was the third straight win for the Packers (5-3) and their 16th in their last 17 games at Lambeau.
Blaine Gabbert had the first 300-yard game of his career, and Rashad Jennings and Cecil Shorts came up big in the absence of Maurice Jones-Drew who missed the game with a foot injury. Jennings rushed for 59 yards and added another 56 yards receiving. Shorts had a career-best 116 yards on eight catches, including a 24-yard reception to set up Josh Scobee’s 32-yard field goal that cut Green Bay’s lead to 21-15 with 6:50 left.
But the Jaguars (1-6) also botched a punt that the Packers recovered for a touchdown, missed a two-point conversion, and came away with only one touchdown in three trips to the red zone.
It was Jacksonville’s fourth straight loss.
“We’re still finding … one play here or there that’s going to cost us a possibility to win that game. And that again happened today,” Jacksonville coach Mike Mularkey said. “I thought there was some progress. But that’s hard to say on a loss.”
The Packers were without their two best receivers, with Jordy Nelson joining Greg Jennings on the inactive list with a hamstring injury. Charles Woodson also was on the sidelines, with a broken collarbone.
Besides, this was the Jaguars the Packers were playing, not San Francisco or Pittsburgh.
“They’re an NFL team, not to get that wrong. But the Jacksonville Jaguars stayed around in Lambeau Field,” Jermichael Finley said. “They were supposed to have been under the Frozen Tundra at halftime.”
Instead, they could have been tied had that two-point conversion not gone through Justin Blackmon’s hands.
“I went against the rules by going for two that early,” Mularkey conceded.
Still clinging to a 14-12 lead after Crosby’s 32-yard field goal attempt bonked off the upright with less than two minutes left in the third quarter, the Packers finally found their rhythm on a seven-play, 52-yard drive that ended with Rodgers’ TD pass to Driver.
“He’s going to make the most of his opportunities,” Rodgers said. “We know what we get out of Donald. We know what kind of player he is, what kind of professional. And when he gets opportunities, he’s going to make the most of them.”
The Jaguars marched to the Green Bay 12, only to stall on back-to-back incompletions by Gabbert. Scobee kicked his third field goal of the day, but then booted the kickoff out of bounds, giving the Packers the ball at their own 40 with less than 7 minutes left.
A quick three-and-out gave the Jaguars the ball back with a chance to make things interesting. After Gabbert’s first two passes to Blackmon from midfield fell incomplete, they finally connected on the third try for a 6-yard gain. They went for it on fourth down, but the only player who got near the ball was Green Bay cornerback Tramon Williams
The Packers padded their lead with 28 seconds left on Mason’s 25-yard field goal, set up by a 38-yard pass interference call on Jaguars cornerback William Middleton four plays earlier.
“It’s important when you don’t play your best you can still come out with Ws,” Rodgers said. “We struggled on offense. You’ve got to give them credit. They had a good plan, they executed really well.
“But it’s going to feel a lot better knowing tonight we’re relaxing and we’re 5-3 and we’re right in the mix.”
NOTES: Scobee has now made 20 straight field goals, tying Mike Hollis’ franchise record. … Davon House’s blocked punt was the first by the Packers since Sept. 29, 2003, and the first returned for a touchdown since Dec. 2, 1990. … Rodgers’ two TDs gave him 153 for his career, moving him past Bart Starr into second place on Green Bay’s all-time list. … Driver appeared in his 200th regular-season game, joining Favre as the only Packers to accomplish the milestone. … Packers S Morgan Burnett had a sack, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery. … After recording five sacks through the first six games, the Jaguars had two Sunday.
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