The adversity was beginning to pile up on the Packers, again.
A fumbled handoff at the goal line when the backup quarterback had to enter the game. A third-down replay challenge that appeared to show a Saints pass hitting the ground, but it was ruled a catch anyway. A New Orleans fumble on a kickoff when the returner was incorrectly ruled down, but the Packers were then out of replay challenges.
“It was almost a ‘not again’ moment,” said linebacker
The difference here was time remained on the clock to do something about it. About all of it.
“You just have to keep punching,” receiver
That play was Jones’ to make with two minutes left and the Packers needing one first down to ice it. Facing third-and-3,
Greer had his back turned and the ball glanced off his hip. Somehow, Jones was able to haul it in while lying on his backside. A ridiculously good catch. First down, game over, Packers 2-2 at the quarter pole.
“Thank God. Oh, man,” Jones said, letting out multiple sighs of relief. “The Lord was with me. I saw the ball was thrown inside. I stuck one hand down there. Sometimes you get lucky in football, and that’s what that was. I caught it under his elbow.”
Greer was flagged for pass interference, so Green Bay was getting the first down regardless, but forgive the Packers if they weren’t going to count on the officials to give them that call.
The game-sealing catch capped an impressive day for Jones, who caught five passes for 56 yards and two scores. He snagged a 12-yard TD pass from a scrambling Rodgers on which Jones reached in front of a diving
Then he added a 14-yard TD on a slant late in the second quarter for a 21-7 lead. It gave Jones just the second two-TD game of his career. The other was last Christmas night against the Bears.
“We’re all about making the most of our opportunities,” Jones said. “Aaron has a lot of weapons. If you ask the receivers, everybody’s open on every play. So he’s always going to get that.
“But when the ball comes your way, just make a play. That’s what ‘E.B.’ (receivers coach Edgar Bennett) tells us. You never know when you’re going to get it, if it’s going to come in the first quarter or the fourth quarter, but make the most of your chances, and that’s what I did today.”
The Packers wasted one big chance or all the drama might not have been necessary. Leading 21-17 in the third quarter, Rodgers got poked in the eye on a facemask penalty and
Harrell promptly tripped over center
“I was just stumbling, and I was like, well, if I can get it to Ced, he still might score,” Harrell said. “But I probably should have just went down and taken the loss of yardage and see if we can get in on the next two downs, and kick a field goal if we don’t. Luckily, we got bailed out.”
Harrell was bailed out because, as Jones said, the Packers kept punching.
After the failed challenge on tight end Jimmy Graham’s reception that kept a Saints drive alive – and a subsequent personal foul on
After the Darren Sproles fumble that was nullified by a quick whistle on the kickoff return, the defense held and the Saints missed a field goal. Had they made it, there still would have been 2:49 left for the offense to counterpunch.
“I think those calls and those situations are training us for something to come in the future, or preparing a path for us,” said Benson, who had another solid day with 18 carries for 84 yards, a 4.7 average. “Because we had some tough calls out there today that didn’t go our way that clearly should have, but we continued on and continued to achieve the ultimate goal at the end of the game.
“I think that says a lot about this team, being dealt that adversity, seeing it’s obviously a wrong, and still prevailing. It’s awesome.”
While Benson waxed philosophical,
“To me,” Burnett said. “2-2 sounds a lot better than 1-3.”
Not just to you, Morgan, not just to you.Additional game coverage - Packers vs. Saints