It was a rough day at the office for the Green Bay Packers on Sunday, but in the end, they were able to squeak out a 24-15 victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars. In the end, the win is all that counts, and the Packers are now 5-3 on the season.
Without Greg Jennings and Jordy Nelson in the lineup, Randall Cobb was no longer a secret weapon, but a targeted player. The Jaguars defense focused on him throughout the game and though he scored a touchdown, he was contained to the tune of five receptions for 28 yards. James Jones played well, but the Packers offense struggled to move the ball without a true No. 1 receiver.
After two short possessions to open the game, Jacksonville put together a solid drive on their second possession to get into range for a Josh Scobee field goal. The Packers answered with their best offensive series of the day, a nine play, 69-yard drive that was capped off by a touchdown pass to Cobb from five yards out. The Packers didn't score another offensive touchdown until the fourth quarter.
They did pick up a massive touchdown in the second quarter by other means, however, thanks to a fantastic punt block by Davon House. He got around the Jaguars' blockers and made a fantastic play to get on the end of Bryan Anger's punt. Both teams had multiple chances to recover a ball that bounced all the way into the end zone, where Dezman Moses jumped on top of the ball to put the Packers up 14-3.
The remainder of the second quarter was a disaster for the Packers, who were lucky to go into halftime with the lead. A sack and two penalties forced the Packers into a punt on 4th and 22 on their next possession, which was followed up by a Jaguars field goal. On the first play of the next drive, with just over one minute left in the second half, Aaron Rodgers fumbled on a sack by Andre Branch, gifting the Jags a chance at a late TD. They took it -- finding offensive lineman Guy Whimper for the score -- but missed the ensuing two-point conversion to send Green Bay into halftime up 14-12.
In the third quarter, both teams played a sport that vaguely resembled football, but did not quite live up to the standards required for a game to be deemed a 'professional football game'. The quarter featured three Jacksonville three-and-outs, a missed field goal by Mason Crosby and an incomplete pass on a fake punt by Tim Masthay. If you didn't watch the game, you probably think that last part was a joke. It's not. It's a thing that the Packers actually did. This quarter shall never be spoken of again.
Aaron Rodgers and company finally woke up on their first drive of the fourth quarter. James Jones had the biggest play of the drive, going 31 yards on a big pass play that took Green Bay down into the red zone. That helped to set up a short touchdown pass to Donald Driver that gave the Packers a two-score lead.
Jacksonville's offense woke up on their next drive as well, with the touchdown perhaps forcing some urgency. However, the Packers' defense made a massive stop on 3rd down and five from the Packers' 12-yard line. Jacksonville had to settle for a field goal, thanks to a big tackle by Jerron McMillian, and suddenly the Jags were right back in the game.
Green Bay had a chance to put the dagger in the Jaguars, and instead proceeded to go three-and-out on their following drive. Jacksonville, needing a touchdown to take the lead, drove into Green Bay territory again, but Gabbert showed his inexperience in the end. On a key 4th down play, he made a terrible throw that was nearly intercepted by Tramon Williams, and the Packers iced the game with another field goal on their following drive.
This game was absolutely no fun to watch, and it was a concerning performance on literally every level. However, the Packers still won the game, and they're still just two games behind the Chicago Bears in the NFC North. They're still in position to get to the playoffs. A win is a win. Let's move on.