NFL: Packers 24, Jaguars 15
Green Bay, Wis. • With the Green Bay Packers struggling, Aaron Rodgers went back to an old favorite.
Rodgers connected with Donald Driver on a 4-yard touchdown early in the fourth quarter, Mason Crosby made up for an earlier miss with a 25-yard field goal and Green Bay escaped with a surprisingly tough 24-15 victory Sunday over the Jacksonville Jaguars. It was the third straight win for the Packers (5-3) and 16th in their 17 games at Lambeau Field.
It was the fourth straight loss for the Jaguars (1-6), who got big contributions from Rashad Jennings and Cecil Shorts in the absence of Maurice Jones-Drew.
Jennings finished with 115 yards of offense, Shorts had a career-best 116 yards on eight catches and the NFL's worst offense managed 341 yards. But Blaine Gabbert came up short on several critical plays, and the Jaguars hurt themselves with untimely penalties.
Rodgers was 22 of 35 for 186 yards and two touchdowns, which moved him past Bart Starr into second place on the Green Bay career list with 153. Brett Favre holds the Packers record with 442 TDs. James Jones had seven catches for 31 yards.
The Packers also recovered their first blocked punt for a touchdown in 22 years when Dezman Moses fell on the ball in the end zone after Davon House had blocked Bryan Anger's kick.
Green Bay's offense hadn't missed a beat without Greg Jennings, who will have surgery Tuesday to repair the torn abdominal muscle that has sidelined him for most of the season. But Jordy Nelson, who picked up much of the slack in Jennings' absence, was also sidelined Sunday (hamstring), and losing their top two receivers was almost too much for the Packers.
After Crosby's missed 32-yard field goal attempt he clanged it off the upright left the Packers clinging to a 14-12 lead, Rodgers finally got them on track. He found Jones for a 31-yard gain up the middle, then hit Randall Cobb for a short gain. A tripping penalty against the Jaguars gave the Packers the ball at the 4-yard line and, two plays later, Rodgers and Driver connected for the score.
The Jaguars stalled on the Green Bay 12 after back-to-back incompletions from Gabbert, and they settled for another field goal by Josh Scobee. The 32-yarder was Scobee's 20th straight field goal, matching the franchise record set by Mike Hollis. He also kicked field goals of 38 and 22 yards.
Scobee booted the kickoff out of bounds, giving the Packers the ball at their own 40 with less than 7 minutes left. But when the Packers managed all of 3 yards, the Jaguars had a chance to make things interesting.
Gabbert looked for Blackmon twice from midfield, throwing incompletions both times. They finally connected on the third try, a 6-yard gain that gave them fourth-and-4 from the Green Bay 44. They went for it, but not only did Gabbert not get it anywhere close to Blackmon, Tramon Williams nearly picked it off.
A pass interference call against Jacksonville on the next drive set up Crosby's 25-yard field goal, sealing the victory.
Notes: 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 Brett 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.
Jacksonville 15, Green Bay 24
Jacksonville 3 9 0 3 15
Green Bay 7 7 0 10 24
Jac • FG Scobee 38, 8:23.
GB • Cobb 5 pass from Rodgers (Crosby kick), 2:54.
GB • Moses blocked punt recovery in end zone (Crosby kick), 8:45.
Jac • FG Scobee 22, 1:03.
Jac • Whimper 1 pass from Gabbert (pass failed), :17.
GB • Driver 4 pass from Rodgers (Crosby kick), 12:36.
Jac • FG Scobee 32, 6:50.
GB • FG Crosby 25, :28.
Attendance • 70,464.
First downs 18 20
Total Net Yards 341 238
Rushes-yards 20-62 26-66
Passing 279 172
Punt Returns 1-0 1-0
Kickoff Returns 4-84 2-57
Interceptions Ret. 0-0 0-0
Comp-Att-Int 27-49-0 22-36-0
Sacked-Yards Lost 2-24 2-14
Punts 6-33.8 5-45.0
Fumbles-Lost 3-1 1-1
Penalties-yards 7-77 5-33
Time of Possession 30:48 29:12
Rushing • Jacksonville, Jennings 17-59, Parmele 2-3, Gabbert 1-0. Green Bay, Green 22-54, Starks 1-8, Rodgers 3-4.
Passing • Jacksonville, Gabbert 27-49-0-303. Green Bay, Rodgers 22-35-0-186, Masthay 0-1-0-0.
Receiving • Jacksonville, Shorts 8-116, Jennings 6-56, Blackmon 4-67, Thomas 4-19, Lewis 2-21, Parmele 1-16, Spurlock 1-7, Whimper 1-1. Green Bay, Ja.Jones 7-78, Cobb 5-28, Green 4-28, Finley 2-24, Driver 2-10, Boykin 1-9, Starks 1-9.
Missed Field Goals • Green Bay, Crosby 32 (WR).