Published November 20, 2014
No matter how many strides the Jacksonville Jaguars make, the same old mistakes cost them every time.
Blaine Gabbert had the first 300-yard game of his career Sunday, but he came up empty on key plays of two critical drives in the fourth quarter and the Green Bay Packers were able to hang on for a 24-15 win over the NFL's worst team.
It was Jacksonville's fourth straight loss.
"We executed on some plays but not on others," Gabbert said. "That was kind of the tale of the game. We left too many plays out there and, in short, we lost."
The Jaguars (1-6) are the NFL's worst team even when they have Maurice Jones-Drew. With their best player out with a foot injury and Gabbert nursing an injury to his non-throwing shoulder, Jacksonville figured to be an easy mark for the Packers.
Instead, the Jaguars gave Green Bay one of its toughest tests of the season. Jacksonville held Green Bay to a season-low 238 yards of offense, sacked Aaron Rodgers twice and shredded the Packers defense time and again with passes of 10 yards or longer.
Gabbert was 27 of 49 for 303 yards and a touchdown. Rashad Jennings, Jones-Drew's backup, rushed for 59 yards and added another 56 yards receiving. Cecil 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 failed on a two-point conversion that would have left them tied at halftime, botched a punt that the Packers recovered for a touchdown, scored just one touchdown on three trips to the red zone, and fumbled the ball right outside the red zone on another drive. They also committed penalties on Green Bay's last two scoring drives, including a pass interference call on William Middleton that kept the last drive alive.
"We're two plays away from being 3-3 and we're one from being 0-6," coach Mike Mularkey said. "These plays are monumental, and we're not making them."
Rodgers was 22 of 35 yards for 186 yards and two touchdowns, including a 4-yard pass to Donald Driver early in the fourth. The two TDs moved Rodgers past Bart Starr into second place on the Green Bay career list with 153.
James Jones had seven catches for 31 yards, and Green Bay's special teams chipped in with yet another score, recovering a blocked punt for a touchdown for the first time in 22 years. Davon House blocked Bryan Anger's kick in the second quarter, and the ball rolled around until Dezman Moses fell on it in the end zone.
"You never know which play is going to be the play that determines the game," Moses said. "It turned out being a lot closer game than we expected. So all those plays count, and that was definitely a big one."
After Rodgers and Driver connected, giving the Packers a 21-15 lead, the Jaguars marched to the Green Bay 12. But the drive stalled on back-to-back incompletions by Gabbert, and the Jaguars settled for Scobee's third field goal of the day.
Scobee booted the ensuing kickoff out of bounds, giving the Packers the ball at their own 40 with less than 7 minutes left. But 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.
"We did some good things offensively," Gabbert said. "But when you get in the red zone three times and only come away with one touchdown, you're not going to win many games."
Notes: Scobee has now made 20 straight field goals, tying Mike Hollis' franchise record. ... The blocked punt was the first by the Packers since Sept. 29, 2003, and first returned for a touchdown since Dec. 2, 1990. ... Driver appeared in his 200th regular season game, joining Favre as the only Packers to accomplish the milestone. Driver is the 22nd wide receiver in the NFL to play in 200 games. ... Packers DE Jerel Worthy left the game with a concussion. DE Mike Neal injured his ankle. ... After just five sacks in their first six games, the Jaguars got to Rodgers twice.
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