It may go down as an important victory in the race for the NFC North crown, if only because the Vikings also beat the Jags. Lost in that statistical note will be the importance of Blaine Gabbert’s performance to the Jacksonville Jaguars. Behind a 10 point 4th quarter the Packers picked up a win, but behind 303 yards of passing the Jaguars may have picked up a future.
The Packers weren’t in their usual stride against the Jaguars on Sunday. A blocked punt which led to a touchdown for the Pack changed it all though. Despite a strong defensive showing, the Jaguars couldn’t score enough points to keep up with the Packers. Aaron Rodgers was limited to just 186 yards on the day, but he also had two touchdowns. The Jags controlled time of possession in large part because they were able to keep the Packers running game to under 70 yards all while corralling Rodgers.
This game was much closer than many anticipated.
The nine point difference in the game came from a superb special teams play by the Packers and missed two point conversion from Blaine Gabbert. Gabbert’s big day netted him only one touchdown – a one yard pass to Guy Whimper – but may have helped to kill the negative aura that seems to plague his career. Despite a torn labrum in his non-throwing shoulder Gabbert powered through for his first 300 yard passing game in his career. Cecil Shorts was the primary receipient of the yardage with eight catches for 116 yards.
Both teams had two sacks on the day and combined for three forced fumbles. Both Rodgers and Gabbert fumbled resulting in a turnover for the Packers while Gabbert recovered his. 2nd round pick Andre Branch found the stat sheet with his first career sack.
The Jaguars were penalized seven times for 77 yards unfortunately. Six of those penalties led to Packers first downs. If the Jags are to get better they will have to limit their mistakes.
The outcome can’t be changed, but if the Jaguars continue to play with heart like they did against the Packers they may be able to change the future.
- Luke N. Sims