JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) – Despite fourth quarter heroics, the Jacksonville Jaguars lost a nail-biter 27-23 to the Green Bay Packers Sunday in their season opener.
Blake Bortles completed 24-of-39 passes for 320 yards, with a touchdown and an interception. Allen Robinson caught six passes for 72 yards, including three on fourth-down plays.
In his post-game interview, Jaguars head coach Gus Bradley said that despite the solid effort, "there were plays during the game that we just didn’t do enough on.
With Chris Ivory hospitalized prior to Sunday's home opener, T.J. Yeldon had to take on an extra workload.
"“He did good," Bradley said. "I thought he ran really hard. He had to play a lot of plays that involved protection and running the ball, so a lot of the workload went on him. I thought he did a pretty good job.”
The Jaguars mounted a late drive that came up short on a fourth-down play. The Jaguars had converted their previous three fourth-down plays, but Allen Hurns failed to move the sticks on a bubble screen.
“Well, I believe we have a run-pass option based on the look, so it was on the perimeter and we had to catch it and get the first down,” Bradley said.
"It’s fourth and one, and when it comes down to it, I’ve got to try harder to get the first down,” Jaguars wide receiver Allen Hurns said.
Rookie cornerback Jalen Ramsey spoke about his first regular season game with Jaguars.
“It felt good until just now," Ramsey said. "I’m not used to losing and I’m never going to get used to losing, so we have to correct the things we need to correct and start now coming out on top instead of just barely losing games.”
Rodgers in mid-season form
Aaron Rodgers threw two touchdown passes and ran for another score, leading the Green Bay Packers to their victory.
Rodgers looked every bit like a two-time league MVP. He extended plays with his feet, escaped sacks and had precision accuracy all over the field.
He completed 20 of 34 passes for 199 yards, with TD passes to Jordy Nelson and Davante Adams. He was sacked once for no yards and didn't turn it over.
He helped the Packers win their second opener in the last five years. This one came on a sweltering, late-summer day that left some players cramping and others completely exhausted.
Rodgers had no issues with the heat. More importantly for the Packers: Neither did Nelson, who played his first game in more than a year. Nelson tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee in the 2015 preseason and missed the entire regular season. The injury significantly impacted Rodgers, who lost his best deep threat, and the offense, which fell to 23rd in the league and tied for 25th in passing.
Nelson finished with six receptions for 32 yards, including a 6-yard TD in the second quarter.
With 13 seconds left in the half, Adams hauled in a 29-yarder that was vintage Rodgers, who managed to get rid of the ball with a defender tugging at his jersey and still got enough on it to reach the end zone. Adams got up and pointed to the back of his jersey several times.
Jaguars receiver Allen Robinson finished with six catches for 72 yards, but there were nine more passes thrown his way. At least two of those, maybe more, could have been flagged for pass interference. The 2015 Pro Bowler took the high road.
"It's not about the calls," Robinson said. "Blake gave me a ton of opportunities to make a play. I've got to make more plays. Seeing that that's how the game is being called, I've got to adjust my physicality to the game."
Fellow receiver Marqise Lee placed the blame elsewhere.
"I don't know what the refs were looking at," Lee said. "We had some (penalties) we felt should have been called."
Jaguars running back Chris Ivory was hospitalized Sunday with a "general medical issue" and was inactive for the opener. Ivory was taken by ambulance from the team hotel to a local hospital early Sunday. He was limited in three practices this week because of a calf injury, but the team said that was not related to his hospital stay.
"Chris Ivory is doing well and is expected to be released from the hospital in the next day or two," the Jaguars said. "More info will be provided at that time."
The Jaguars mounted a late drive that came up short on a fourth-and-1 play at the Packers 14. The Jaguars had converted their previous three fourth-down plays, but Allen Hurns failed to move the sticks on a bubble screen.
"We kind of knew that was what they were going to do," said Blake Bortles, who completed 24 of 39 passes for 320 yards, with a touchdown and an interception. "They are a big 'bring the house' team, so we just have to execute. I should have done something differently. It was fourth-and-1 or whatever, so we just have to get it. If you don't, you lose."