Look Who Showed Up

In what is shaping up to be a miserable season for the Jaguars, the team gave their fans something to cheer about for at least one day as they defeated the visiting Green Bay Packers, 20-16.

Mired in a three-game slump, Jaguars quarterback David Garrard found some great touch and accuracy as he led the team to three touchdown drives, and completed 21 of 33 passes for 238 yards, two touchdowns and most importantly no interceptions for a quarterback rating of 105.4. Garrard's favorite target today was not running back Maurice Jones-Drew, but wide receiver Dennis Northcutt who had the best day of his Jaguar career, as he caught five passes for 127 yards including a 30-yard touchdown reception on the game's first drive.

"We did a nice job of starting fast; nice to jump out and get a lead," coach Jack Del Rio said. "We needed it. It's been awhile."

The Jacksonville defense was more than solid against the fourth-best scoring team in the NFL as they held the Packers to just 338 net yards and 16 points, which was more than 11 below their season average. Linebacker Clint Ingram and cornerback Drayton Florence tied for the team lead with seven tackles, defensive end Reggie Hayward supplied a pass rush as he registered three tackles and two sacks, and safety Reggie Nelson chipped in with five tackles and a game-clinching interception.

"The effort has always been there," Fred Taylor said, as he was watching from the sidelines after being placed on the injured reserve list with a thumb injury. "David was on point. The defense got the stops."

Green Bay had the lead for much of the game as they scored 13 unanswered points following the Jaguars initial drive, and took a 13-7 lead into the fourth quarter. The Jaguars defense then responded early in the fourth period as they stopped the visiting Packers on three consecutive running plays when all they needed was one yard. The Jacksonville offense fed off the defense's stand and David Garrard led the team on a nine-play, 56-yard drive that was capped by a Maurice Jones-Drew 14-yard touchdown reception to give Jacksonville a 14-13 lead.

The Packers offense responded with a field goal drive to take the lead as Aaron Rodgers led the team down the field on a nine-play, 54-yard drive. Mason Crosby's 38-yard field goal put the Pack up 16-14 with approximately six minutes in the fourth quarter.

With one final opportunity for the Jaguars offense, David Garrard led the team down on a masterful drive that eclipsed 3:39 off the clock and covered 80 yards on just six plays. Garrard hit wide receiver Dennis Northcutt on a 41-yard completion to put the Jags in Green Bay territory, and then the Jags sliced through the swiss cheese Packers defense. The drive and game were capped by a Maurice Jones-Drew two-yard touchdown plunge to put the Jags up 20-16 with less than two minutes remaining.

The Packers final drive stalled when Reggie Nelson intercepted a high Aaron Rodgers throw to put the game on ice with just 46 seconds remaining. Rodgers completed 20 of 32 passes for 278 yards, one touchdown and one interception for a quarterback rating of just 87.8.

"It's definitely been a tough season, but I know as a professional we have to persevere and do our job," Garrard said.

With the victory, the Jaguars improve to 5-9 with a game left at home against Indianapolis on Thursday night, and one on the road at Baltimore on December 28th.


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