The Jaguars went toe to toe with the Packers for three quarters but couldn’t close things out on the road at Lambeau Field in a 24-20 loss on Sunday.
It was Jacksonville’s eighth straight defeat and kept it locked into the No. 2 position in next year’s draft behind the winless Jets. In a season few positives, the Jaguars had quite a few of them against the Packers.
It didn’t rival many of the Jaguars previous efforts, though. In Jacksonville’s current losing streak, most have felt one-sided and over by halftime.
Not last week and not this week.
Jacksonville’s last two games behind rookie quarterback Jake Luton and a surprisingly improved defense have at least shown potential. It narrowly lost to the Texans last week (27-25), had the Packers down 20-17 in the fourth quarter and had the ball with a shot to go ahead in the final minute.
Green Bay woke up when it needed to.
Jacksonville (1-8) played one of its best games of the season, leading the Packers with just over 10 minutes to play in a game that it was a 14-point underdog.
Keelan Cole returned a punt 91 yards for a touchdown and caught a 12-yard touchdown pass from Jake Luton and the defense kept Aaron Rodgers moderately in check.
But Rodgers shook off a shaky performance in the second half and rallied Green Bay, throwing a 6-yard touchdown pass to Davante Adams and putting the Packers (7-2) in front to stay with 9 minutes, 3 seconds to go.
Jacksonville had one final shot following an excellent defensive stop by Adam Gotsis and Daniel Thomas on a third-and-1, getting the ball back and giving Luton one more chance. But Green Bay had back-to-back sacks of Luton and nearly sacked him again on a fourth-and-26 play.
It showed progress though.
The Jaguars took a 20-17 lead in the fourth quarter on a 31-yard field goal by Chase McLaughlin, their sixth kicker of the season. That play was set up by Sidney Jones' pick of Rodgers, the Packers' second giveaway of the second half that led to Jacksonville points.
A holding penalty on that drive was costly for Jacksonville, erasing a James Robinson touchdown run.
A defense that has been strafed all season played well enough to win on Sunday.
Jacksonville took advantage of a Green Bay turnover early in the third quarter, a strip of Adams by rookie CJ Henderson that Myles Jack recovered at the Packers 16. Three plays later, Luton fired a bullet over the middle to Cole that tied things at 17-all.
Robinson rushed for 109 yards on 23 carries and Cole caught Luton’s lone touchdown pass of the game. Luton finished 18 of 36 for 169 yards.