(WFRV) – It wasn’t pretty, but it will count.
On paper Sunday’s Packers match-up against the Jacksonville Jaguars seemed like it should be a walk in the park. Nothing is that easy in the NFL though.
“Obviously, we’re happy with the win, although we didn’t play our best and we all know that. I think we recognize that. We didn’t play to our standard. There’s a lot of improvement out there for us. But anytime you win in this league you’ve got to enjoy that. You’ve got to give a lot of credit to the Jacksonville Jaguars,” said head coach Matt LaFleur.
They came ready to play. They showed more emotion than we did. They battled and you’ve got to give them a lot of credit. That’s a credit to their players, their coaches. And this is the National Football League. Just like we told our players, you’ve got to earn everything you get.”
Green Bay’s offense was slow to get started on Sunday, and was shutout in a quarter for just the fifth time this year. Rodgers and company did redeem themselves quickly in the second quarter, though.
On a deep ball along the near sideline Rodgers was able to find Marquez Valdes-Scantling, and the Packers speedster took care of the rest. Even using a referee as a blocker, Valdes-Scantling was able to out-run the Jags to the endzone for a 78-yard touchdown.
“I think it starts with the deep threat. I think we need to keep finding ways to get him other routes. I think the growth we’re going to see from him is where he becomes more than just a one-dimensional guy. But I will say there were a couple plays that I really, really liked today from him,” said Aaron Rodgers.
The Packers longest score of the season gave them a 7-3 lead, but it was short-lived.
Jacksonville’s offense didn’t do all that much on Sunday. Instead the Jaguars were able to take advantage of turnovers and miscues. The first as Keelan Cole Sr. returned a JK Scott punt 91 yards for a touchdown, complete with nice juke move on the Packers punter, to give Jacksonville a 10-7 lead.
Turnovers swung the momentum of the game in the second and third quarter. An Adrian Amos interception helped set up a five yard touchdown run by Aaron Rodgers to give Green Bay a 17-10 lead heading to halftime.
In the second half a fumble by Davante Adams, and interception by Rodgers helped Jacksonville go in front. In all the Jaguars were able to turn two turnovers into ten points, and held a 20-17 lead in the fourth quarter.
Adams spent time on the sidelines with what was announced as an ankle injury, and even went into the blue tent in the sidelines to be looked at by trainers. The Packers star wide out would return though, and deliver in one of the biggest spots of the afternoon.
With just over nine minutes remaining Rodgers put the ball where only his receiver could get it, and Adams skied for the touchdown grab.
He (Adams) got to the top of that and made a stick and I threw the ball in the air and that was just a really smooth, beautiful route and catch. The play that he actually had a touchdown, first I would talk about his toughness. I won’t get into what he was dealing with, but the fact that he’s out out and then I’m on the sidelines and I hear, ‘Hey, 17 said he wants to go back in.’ Look, you might think that that’s a normal thing in this game, and maybe it was 10 years ago, but you see less and less of that happening.
“I think there’s more of a, ‘Oh, you know, doc doesn’t think I can go here. Maybe I should sit out the rest of the game,’ but 17’s built differently. He always has been, and for him to get back out three, I asked him a couple times, ‘You OK? You good?’ and he just nodded that he was, so that route and that play that he scored on is really a play for Marquez (Valdes-Scantling) sliding across the formation. They did a good job of kind of getting hands on him and ‘Tae just slow played it on the back side. It wasn’t an easy throw based on the wind and I wasn’t trying to put it 10 feet up in the air for him to come down on his shoulder like that, but dude is a special player,” said Rodgers.
That put Green Bay in front 24-20 at the time, and the Packers defense would hold from there. After Jacksonville drove into Packers territory, sacks by Preston Smith and Rashan Gary helped seal the deal as the Jags eventually failed to convert on a long fourth down.
On a day where the offense struggled it was the defense, which has been often criticized this season, that came up with the big plays down the stretch.
““That was awesome to see. I felt like that was the first time our team came alive. You could feel it on the sidelines, everybody rooting for one another. We need that from the opening kick. That’s the standard. We can’t just pick and choose when we want to do that. The game is on the line so it’s easy to get up for that. We have got to do a better job from when before we start the game, to show that kind of energy, to show that kind of emotion, to show that kind of support for one another that we saw at the end of the game. And if we don’t get that, we’re not going to be at our best,” said Lafleur.
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