In The Driver Seat
The Green Bay Packers returned home after a three week road trip and welcomed the Jacksonville Jaguars to Lambeau Field for just the second time in franchise history. The Packers have been dominant at home and their opening week loss to the San Francisco 49ers is the only blemish at home during the regular season over the last 16 games. The Packers have won 21 of their last 25 regular season games at home and many were expecting Green Bay to blow out Jacksonville this Sunday.
The Jaguars came into Titletown without their biggest offensive threat, Maurice Jones-Drew, who will miss the next few games with a foot injury. Jacksonville QB Blaine Gabbert was also on the injury report with a hurt non-throwing shoulder but was able to suit up. Gabbert would go on to have the most passing yards in a game of his young career and nearly led his Jags to an epic upset of the Pack. His previous career high for passing yards came against Minnesota in week 1 when he threw for 260 yards. Gabbert was able to record his first 300+ passing game throwing the ball a career high 49 times without MJD in the backfield. He completed 27 of those attempts for 303 yards, including a 1 yard dump to Guy Whimper in the end-zone, but most importantly didn’t turn the ball over.
The Jaguars were the first to score with a 38 yard field goal by Josh Scobee but the Packers took the lead when Aaron Rodgers found Randall Cobb for his 4th touchdown in 4 games. It is Rodgers’ 33rd consecutive regular season game at home with at least 1 passing touchdown and he is now just 6 games shy of Marino’s NFL record of 39 games set from 1983-88. The Packers offense was without wide receiver Greg Jennings, who’s going in for abdominal surgery on Tuesday, and Jordy Nelson after he suffered a hamstring injury earlier in the week. The offense struggled and put up a season low 238 total offensive yards.
Green Bay would increase that lead when Davon House blocked Bryan Anger’s punt and Dezman Moses recovered it in the end-zone midway through the 2nd quarter. It was the first blocked punt by a Packer since Marcus Wilkins did it against the Bears in 2003 and first blocked punt for a TD since they did it against the Vikings in 1990. The Packers special teams unit has now returned a punt for a TD, faked a field goal for a TD, faked a punt for a first down, recovered an onside kick and blocked a punt for a TD in the first 8 weeks.
The Jags were only down 12-14 going into halftime after the Packers got into the red-zone late in the first half but were forced to kick a field goal. Green Bay has the best touchdown percentage in the red-zone in the entire league scoring at least 6 in 18 of 25 possessions inside the 20 yard-line. Mason Crosby would line up to kick a 32-yard chip shot but blasted it off the right upright and Green Bay’s lead remained at 2 points. It was Crosby’s first miss of the season from inside 50 yards, he was previously 7-7, but he is also just 1-4 on field goals 50+. Crosby would wind up kicking a 25 yard field goal in the game’s final minute and locking up a 15-24 victory.
Green Bay’s other touchdown came when Aaron Rodgers found WR Donald Driver from 4 yards out on a third down play. It was Rodgers’ 2nd TD pass of the day and the 153rd of his career surpassing Bart Starr’s mark of 152 in the Green Bay record books. Donald Driver also joined the Packers record books when he stepped on the field, joining Brett Favre as the only other player to suit up for Green Bay in at least 200 games. Driver also tied RB Paul Hornung for the 5th spot for most overall touchdowns in franchise history with his 62nd touchdown.
Green Bay was able to hold onto a victory despite being bit by the injury bug and having their poorest performance on offense. They welcome the Arizona Cardinals to town next week before their week 10 bye and the Packers are hoping that they can come out of that week healthy and on a 4 game-winning streak.