Be honest Green Bay Packers fans, when you saw the Jacksonville Jaguars on the schedule this week, you did not expect the game to be a nail-biter.
You probably thought Green Bay would coast to a big lead and finish out the game smoothly in the fourth quarter. After all, that is what the Packers have done this season when they played other bad (or injury-riddled) teams like Atlanta, Detroit, Houston, Minnesota (well, in Week 1 anyway) and San Francisco.
That is why the games are not played on paper. Green Bay made some mistakes and Jacksonville played a tough game and even took a lead in the fourth quarter, but the Packers pulled out a 24-20 victory in the end to move to 7-2. Green Bay winning a game where it didn’t play that well is an outcome many NFL teams could not accomplish in Week 10. In the NFL, style points may matter in terms of perception but not in the standings where the Packers are currently the top seed in the NFC.
Green Bay also won with its two best players having good-but-not-great games. Aaron Rodgers threw for 325 yards and two touchdowns, plus ran for a five-yard touchdown in the second quarter, but he also had a few missed throws on third down and tossed a bad interception in the third quarter. The same goes for receiver Davante Adams, who had an early drop and fumbled in the third quarter, and to his credit caught eight passes for 66 yards, including the go-ahead touchdown.
The Packers defense did make up for the offense’s inconsistency. Adrian Amos took advantage of a Jaguars mistake with an interception in the second quarter, Christian Kirksey led the team with seven tackles in his first game back from a pectoral injury and Preston Smith finished with five tackles, a sack and two tackles for loss.
But it is not like Jacksonville did not make plays. Rookie running back James Robinson rushed 23 times for 109 yards and wide receiver Keelan Cole caught five passes for 47 yards and a touchdown, along with a speedy 91-yard punt return that J.K. Scott surely will not want to see again on film.
In the end, Green Bay came out victorious and did so by out-gaining the Jaguars 395-260. Not quite an ideal outing from the green-and-gold, but every winning season has a few ugly wins and it sure beats a well-played loss.
PLAYER OF THE GAME
Marquez Valdes-Scantling was all over the place on Sunday. A week after reeling in two touchdowns, MVS stepped up in a game where Adams was not quite at his peak. Valdes-Scantling put on his figurative jet pack when he burned Jacksonville cornerback Sidney Jones down the sideline for a 78-yard bomb. He and added three more catches to finish with four receptions for a career-high 149 yards.
— NFL (@NFL) November 15, 2020
DON’T FORGET ABOUT ME
Za’Darius Smith put pressure on Jacksonville backup quarterback Jake Luton throughout the game and finished with five tackles and a sack. His biggest play of the day did not show up on the stat sheet, either. On the Jaguars’ last play of the game, Smith pressured Luton out of the pocket which led to an errant throw and ultimately the win.
With 4:27 left in the fourth quarter, Jacksonville faced a 3rd-and-10 at the 50 yard-line. Luton dropped back and threw a pass to tight end Tyler Eifert, but Raven Greene defended it well and it fell incomplete. That play forced the Jaguars to punt, and while they did get the ball back with 2:32 left, it was not enough time for Jacksonville to go all the way down the field running their standard offense.
4.7 — The average yards per rush by the Jaguars. It may not seem like much, but Robinson had running room during the game and kept drives alive by picking up five first downs. By contrast, Green Bay had just 80 rushing yards and ran for 3.2 yards per carry.
THEY SAID IT
“People aren’t going to just lay down. You’ve got to come ready to work each and every day in order to get the results that you want.” — Packers head coach Matt Lafleur
“We’re fortunate and we’ll take the win. But we’ve got to improve.” — LaFleur
“I think the growth we’re going to see from him is where he becomes more than just a one-dimensional guy.” — Rodgers on the improvement of Valdes-Scantling
“We’re pretty used to being able to go out and throw in the wind and know what passes you can throw and what passes you can’t throw.” — Valdes-Scantling said about playing in windy weather
The Packers will travel to Indiana to play the 6-3 Indianapolis Colts on Sunday at 3:25 p.m. The Colts defeated the Tennessee Titans 34-17 on Thursday Night Football and moved into first place in the AFC South. Indianapolis quarterback Philip Rivers played well in the win, throwing for 308 yards and a touchdown.