Jones Gets Back On Track

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - It was looking like a lost season for receiver James Jones. Until Sunday, when he reminded everyone of the kinds of plays he can make when he’s at least close to fully healthy. - More Packers-Jaguars Game Center

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - It was looking like a lost season for receiver James Jones.

Until Sunday, when he reminded everyone of the kinds of plays he can make when he's at least close to fully healthy.

Jones, who has played in barely more than half the games this season because of an on-again, off-again knee injury initially sustained in the third preseason game in Denver, caught three deep sideline passes against Jacksonville on Sunday, all of them leading to points for the Packers.

He added a fourth catch on the game's final drive, giving him a career-high 132 yards. But unfortunately, Jones' big plays weren't enough in the 20-16 loss, and that's what bothered the second-year receiver the most.

"We don't come out here for stats, we come out here for wins," Jones said. "If I have a big game, I could have did more to help this team get a win. That's the bottom line. I don't come out here for 100-yard games or anything like that. We come to win, and we didn't get that done today."

Before Sunday, Jones had just 101 yards receiving on 12 receptions in 2008, a far cry from his impressive rookie numbers of 47 catches for 676 yards. The sprained knee from the preseason has been the primary culprit, either forcing Jones to sit out games or limiting his action when he seemed to aggravate the knee with every pass reception. He had played in just seven of the team's first 13 games, and some of them very little at that.

His longest catch of the season had been an 18-yarder, against Chicago, and he even banged the knee again on that one too. The only other game this season in which Jones had a significant impact was way back in Week 2 at Detroit, when his four receptions for 29 yards included a 9-yard TD grab in the first quarter.

But Jones, running more smoothly in recent weeks, made on Sunday the kind of impact plays he was making as a rookie, such as his 79-yard TD catch on Monday Night Football in Denver. That led to the only other 100-yard game in his young career, a 107-yard effort.

"I feel good," Jones said when asked about his health. "I feel a lot better than I was in the early part of the year, so that's a plus. But at the end of he day I'd rather feel bad and win. But my body's doing fine. I'm holding up."

On the Packers' first series, the offense faced a third-and-10 on its own 17 and quarterback Aaron Rodgers was flushed to his left. Jones slipped behind the defense down the sideline and Rodgers hit him for 46 yards, all the way to the Jacksonville 37. The ensuing field goal pulled the Packers within 7-3.

Then toward the end of the first half, the Packers faced another third down, this one from midfield. This time, Jones ran a stutter-go up the right sideline, and Rodgers let it fly.

Jones initially bobbled the ball along the sideline and took a wallop from safety Reggie Nelson, but hung onto the ball. The 40-yard grab, which put the ball on the 10, was reviewed by replay and upheld, as Jones got control of the ball and got his second foot in as Nelson's hit took him out of bounds. The hit also knocked the wind out of Jones, but he came back in the game later.

{sportsad300}The Packers had to settle for a field goal once again, giving them a 13-7 halftime lead.

His third big catch came in the fourth quarter. The Jaguars had just taken a 14-13 lead when Rodgers went to Jones on the second play of the ensuing drive. Another double move up the right sideline was good for 34 yards, putting the Packers in position for a go-ahead field goal.

"James made some big plays," Rodgers said. "He's a talented guy who hasn't been healthy for most of the season. He did some great things for us. Unfortunately we couldn't finish it off."

Jones' last grab was a 12-yarder on a quick slant on the final drive with the Packers trailing. It picked up a first down at the Green Bay 40, but that ended up being the last first down for the Packers this day.

Two plays later, Rodgers threw an interception that sealed yet another close loss.

"I made a couple plays, that's something that everybody expects from every receiver on this team," Jones said. "That's why we're here, to make plays. But at the same time we didn't make enough, and we came out with a loss."

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