Nobody came into today thinking the Jaguars even had a chance to win this game. Playing a 6-2 Packers team in Green Bay is no small task, but having to go to battle against an Aaron Rodgers-led team with an inexperienced backup quarterback would seem completely insurmountable. While the Jags certainly deserve credit for putting together an admirable effort, ultimately, they still predictably fell to the Packers, 24-20.
Addressing the positives first, the defense is trending in a good direction. They held the opposing team to under 30 points for the second game in a row. To put this in context, previously this season the Jags had surrendered 30 points to 6 straight opponents. Accomplishing such a feat against the Packers is far more impressive than last week’s tough loss to the Texans. The defense also forced two turnovers, both in the third quarter, a fumble recovered by Myles Jack and an interception by Sidney Jones.
Keelan Cole was another bright spot on the day. He set a Jaguars record in the second quarter with a 91-yard punt return for a touchdown. He added 47 yards receiving on 5 catches and found the endzone a second time on a 12-yard catch in traffic. DJ Chark and Chris Conley were also active in the passing game, the former posting 4 catches for 56 yards and the latter 4 for 43.
James Robinson was the only rusher on the day, carrying the ball 23 times for 109 yards. He had a 16-yard score called back for holding, but ran the ball twice for chunks of yardage to set up the eventual scoring toss to Cole.
Jake Luton threw the ball 35 times on Sunday, completing 18 for 169 yards with 1 TD and 1 interception. After his 300-yard performance last week against the Texans, many speculated as to whether he should replace Gardner Minshew as the starting quarterback for his team. While Minshew has certainly struggled enough to have his job called into question, Luton came back down to earth this week and illustrated why he is probably not a suitable franchise quarterback either.
It’s also worth noting that while his yards last week were impressive, through two games he still has only thrown 2 touchdowns and matches them with two interceptions. The Jags should be thinking hard about drafting a quarterback with their inevitable top-5 draft pick.
This game was as good as any the Jaguars have played this season. While the result was unsurprising, the narrow margin by which they were defeated was not. Jacksonville was in this down to their last possession in the last two minutes of play. The Green Bay defense stood tall, however, getting two consecutive sacks and applying insane pressure to force an incompletion that gave them the ball back to run the clock down. Jacksonville hosts the undefeated (8-0) Pittsburgh Steelers next weekend in another seemingly impossible matchup.