Packers wide receiver Jordy Nelson (87) catches a touchdown pass
behind Jacksonville Jaguars defensive back Prince Amukamara,
left, during the first half of an NFL football game in
Jacksonville, Fla., Sunday, Sept. 11, 2016.
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Aaron Rodgers was
far from impressed with his season opener.
He was concerned that Green Bay's offense wasn't effective early and
had some struggles in the red zone. Nonetheless, the Packers'
harshest critic was a big reason they won a close game on the road
in sweltering heat.
Rodgers threw two touchdown passes and ran for another score,
leading Green Bay to a 27-23 victory against the Jacksonville
Jaguars in the teams' season opener Sunday.
Rodgers looked every bit like a two-time league MVP. He extended
plays with his feet, escaped sacks and was accurate all over the
"I don't think we played very well offensively," Rodgers said. "But
we won. It's tough to win in this league. It's tough to win on the
Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers celebrates his touchdown run
against the Jacksonville Jaguars with wide receiver Jordy Nelson
(87) during the first half.
Rodgers 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 hot and humid day that left some players
cramping and others completely exhausted.
LOOK WHO'S BACK
Nelson played his first game since tearing the anterior cruciate
ligament in his right knee in the 2015 preseason. 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
Nelson didn't show big-play ability in the opener. He finished with
six receptions for 32 yards, including a 6-yard TD in the second
Green Bay Packers wide receiver
Jordy Nelson, right, catches a pass in front of Jacksonville
Jaguars cornerback Davon House (31) during the second half.
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."
With 13 seconds left in the first 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
"You've got to make the tough ones," Adams said. "That's the caliber
of receivers we have here and that's the standard we hold ourselves
to. ... It was a tight window to get the ball in there, but the
window was cracked. It was not a wide-open window."
Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers answers questions from
reporters during a news conference after the game.
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
"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."
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."