Dramatic 2001 comeback win was last so far in Jacksonville series
Photo: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
GREEN BAY - The Green Bay Packers and Jacksonville Jaguars have only met four times in their interconference series, and the Packers haven't beaten Jacksonville in 11 years.
The last victory came in a classic comeback in North Florida during the team's first successful run to the playoffs in three years.
The Packers were fighting with the Chicago Bears for the final NFC Central Division title when they went on the edge of the Florida swamps to face a Jaguars team that didn't seem to be a candidate to play spoiler.
But in the game's first 42 minutes, it looked as if the Jags would pull off a surprising upset.
Former Packers backup Mark Brunell heaved a 29-yard sideline bomb to Elvis Joseph to help Jacksonville storm to a 13-0 lead.
The Packers responded to cut the advantage before the half.
Brett Favre shoveled a short toss to Ahman Green that made the Jaguars' lead just one score at the half, 13-7.
But the only turnover the Packers committed all night proved to be a huge one.
Favre fumbled when Tony Brackens beat Chad Clifton crushed him in the pass pocket, and Ainsley Battles went 60 yards to give Jacksonville its biggest momentum boost.
Trailing 21-7 late in the 3rd quarter, Packers coach Mike Sherman and his staff made some critical offensive adjustments to help stop Brackens and his teammates who tallied five sacks on Favre.
"We felt like if we could protect and give Brett time, we'd be able to make throws downfield," said Sherman to Newsradio 620 WTMJ's Larry McCarren after the game.
"That's what we did. Brackens was getting upfield on us on a regular basis, so we decided to double him and chip him a little bit. It gave Brett a chance to make some nice throws."
One of his nicest turned into a 43-yard howitzer to Bill Schroeder to took it into the end zone later in the 4th quarter.
That score began a 14-point comeback which led to the Packers tying up the ball game.
After a Jacksonville fumble, Favre pop-flied a perfect throw to Bubba Franks in the end zone for a 1-yard score that knotted the game at 21-all.
Jacksonville had plenty of chances to take the lead, but a combination of turnovers and missed field goals soured the Jags' hopes.
Brunell tossed an end zone interception by Tyrone Williams, and Mike Hollis' field goal to give Jacksonville back the lead bounded off the left upright.
Finally, the Packers got the ball 56 yards from the end zone with 2:11 left.
They got 42 yards on Ahman Green's legs. He took a screen pass and, thanks to perfect blocking, carried the football five yards away from victory.
And two plays later, they got the game-winner, on another guy's legs.
Brett Favre ran a play action run to the left, and after successfully evading his greatest defensive nemesis of the night, Tony Brackens, his feet skittered past the pylon to produce the game's deciding score with 1:30 left.
The Packers took their last win against the Jaguars before today's contest, 28-21.
"The guys really believed in themselves, and their ability to win this football," said Sherman.
"I take my hat off to the players and how they battled back."