Red-zone woes have Packers feeling blue

The Green Bay Packers offense spent so much time in scoring position Sunday it should have started a fire to stay warm.

The Packers, however, were anything but hot in the Jacksonville red zone. And that played a huge role in the Packers losing one of their famed cold-weather games, 28-25.

Green Bay reached the red zone — inside the Jacksonville 20-yard line — five times Sunday and got inside the 25 on two other occasions. The Packers emerged with points on only two of those seven possessions, however.

In fact, the Packers came up with only a field goal on their first six excursions inside the 25.

The game started ominously. The Packers were in position to answer a game-opening Jaguars touchdown when they recovered a fumbled Jaguars punt return at the Jacksonville 30-yard line. The Packers got into the red zone on the next play when Brett Favre hit Javon Walker for 19 yards to the 11. On the next play, however, Ahman Green fumbled the ball away. It was Green's first lost fumble in 153 touches dating to the Oct. 11 loss to Tennessee.

Wasted trip No. 2 came in a drive spanning the first and second quarters. The Packers started the drive at their own 47, and on third-and-6 Favre hit Walker for 23 yards to the Jacksonville 26-yard line. On the first play of the second quarter, however, Pro Bowl guard Marco Rivera's holding penalty wiped out a 6-yard run by Green. That forced the Packers into second- and third-and-long plays, and they had to settle for Ryan Longwell's 35-yard field goal that cut the deficit to 7-3.

Wasted trip No. 3 came on the next possession. Again benefiting from great field position, the Packers took the ball from their 43 to the Jacksonville 13 on 11 plays. Three third-down conversions were wasted, however, when Longwell misfired from 31 yards. He had made 45 straight from inside of 40 yards.

Wasted trip No. 4 came on the next possession. Working a brisk two-minute drill at the end of the first half, Favre led the Packers quickly from their 30 to the Jacksonville 23. The Jaguars blitzed into a running play, and Favre and Green botched the exchange for a drive-killing fumble.

"They had the perfect blitz on for that play and we hadn't seen that blitz too many times in that personnel package," said Favre. "As I came back to hand the ball off, the guy is right there and obviously Ahman felt him there, too. They timed it up perfectly."

Wasted trip No. 5 will be the one that haunts Favre. Trailing only 21-17 in the third quarter despite the miscues, the Packers used a 27-yard burst by Green and were about to answer a Jaguars touchdown by moving the ball 76 yards in eight plays. After converting a third-and-5 by hitting Walker for 12 yards to the Jaguars' 3, Favre faked a handoff to Green and rolled right. He thought tight end Bubba Franks was open in the back of the end zone. He wasn't. Favre floated a pass to Franks that cornerback Rashean Mathis stood there and caught for the easiest interception he'll ever get.

"God, that was a bad mistake," said Favre. "Hopefully I never do that again. I haven't done that too many times in my career. I have way too much experience to make mistakes like that. Of all the ones I've thrown in my career, I wish I had that one back. It was one of those throws that looks so bad, the more I try and explain it, the worse it seems."

Favre said he didn't see Mathis until it was too late.

"To be honest, I didn't see the guy until the last second," said Favre. "I was kind of blocked by the defensive line. If I had a string like a yo-yo, I would have pulled it back."

Wasted trip No. 6 came with the Packers desperately needing points, behind 28-17 in the fourth quarter. Favre was intercepted again, but this turnover was due to the brilliance of safety Deon Grant, who stole the ball from Driver in the end zone.

"I didn't see (the ball) the whole time it was in the air because it was in the lights," said Grant. "Honestly, me and him grabbed at the ball at the same time. I think he didn't see it until the last minute, too. But we were both going at it strong. I knew when my hand touched (the ball) I'd come away with it."

The Packers finally cashed in a red-zone drive with a last-minute touchdown from Favre to Antonio Chatman.

The score hardly wiped out the bitter taste of victory.

"Anyone who watched this game knows what cost us: turnovers, penalties, mistakes," Favre said.

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