Week 1: Packers Hold Off Late Jaguars Rally

Jon: The Packers released guard Josh Sitton a week ago, and the Jaguars were without running back Chris Ivory. Ivory had joined Jacksonville on a pretty big free agent deal last offseason. What will we remember from this game, Gary?

Rodgers adds to his career highlights in close win

Gary: We’ll remember two unbelievable touchdown passes by Aaron Rodgers. The first was to Jordy Nelson in the beginning of the game. It’s Nelson’s first touchdown since his ACL tear and his first score in about 600 days.

Then, right before halftime, the Packers are trailing 17-14. Aaron Rodgers appears to be sacked, but somehow the ball comes out of his hand and threads the tiniest of needles into Davante Adams’ hands for a touchdown that gives the Packers a 21-17 halftime lead.

Before the season, Jacksonville was thought to be a potential playoff team, pushing Andrew Luck and Indianapolis for dominance in the AFC South. The Jaguars offense features two wide receivers with over 1,000 yards last year, and they’re giving the Packers all they can handle in this matchup.

The defense holds strong and in the final drive, the Packers are up four points. The Jaguars are driving inside the Packers red zone. The clock’s ticking. There’s about 20 seconds left. It’s 4th and 1. Jacksonville has no time outs, and Blake Bortles throws a swing pass behind the line of scrimmage to Allen Hurns. 

Wouldn’t you know it? Damarious Randall accompanied by a swath of Packers defenders make the tackle, and the Packers win 27-23. 

The Packers rushed for under 4 yards per carry on the ground, and they had only one play on offense over 30 yards. Did the offense pick up where they left off?

Jon: Yes, and there’s two prongs to that answer, one good and one bad. If you remember how the Packers ended their 2015 season, it was wondering what’s wrong with Aaron Rodgers. This game certainly didn’t put any of those concerns to rest. 

But on the other hand, a lot of people said coming into this game that this may be the sort of game that gets a little ugly but the Packers would still win anyway. It’s an early season game, there’s some kinks to work out yet. It’s on the road, and in a situation where you’re playing in extreme heat. 

All of those things prove to be true in this game. It wasn’t pretty, but they got the job done and won on the road with some great defense from a unit that we thought may be a little shaky. 

This conversation first appeared in our weekly podcast. Blue 58, powered by WTMJ Mobile, goes beyond the headlines to help you become a smarter fan of the Green Bay Packers. Hosted by former WTMJ newscaster Jon Meerdink and his friend Gary Zilavy, Blue 58 brings you a unique, upbeat perspective on your favorite NFL team, as long as that team is the Packers.