SANTA CLARA – Another game, another play on the highlight reel for James Jones.
On a Sunday the Packers struggled to maintain their explosive ways on offense, Jones made the biggest play of the day in Green Bay’s 17-3 win over San Francisco at Levi’s Stadium.
The Packers led just 7-3 in the third quarter when QB Aaron Rodgers decided to give Jones a shot deep against one-on-one coverage. All Jones did was make a nifty catch along the sideline, somehow getting tapping both feet down in bounds for a 38-yard gain, one of Green Bay’s two plays of 20 yards or more all game.
“A-Rod gave me a shot, man,” Jones said. “I saw the ball and really didn’t know where I was at. If you don’t know where you’re at, you have to get your feet down fast, and I was able to catch it.”
The grab set up a first-and-goal and led to the Packers’ second TD of the game for, finally, a two-score lead. It wasn’t a pretty game offensively, but the Packers credited the 49ers defense for making it tough. Jones actually had the only other big gainer on the day, a 36-yard catch-and-run to get the offense out of a field-position hole.
“That’s a good defense, they’re at home, in front of their home crowd, coming off a tough loss last week. We knew they were going to come out with some extra juice,” Jones said. “We got their best shot. It was a grinder. It’s the pros. They get paid, too.”
For the first time this season, Jones didn’t get in the end zone, but his five catches for 98 yards led the Packers offense. With 317 receiving yards on the season, Jones now leads the team at the quarter pole in that category and is tied with Randall Cobb with four TD catches after signing just a week before the opener.
“Playmaker,” said running back Eddie Lacy of his veteran teammate after Lacy pounded out 90 yards rushing on 18 attempts. “He came in, he picked up right where he left off, like he never left the team. Every time he gets an opportunity he makes the most of it.”
TD plunge: It had been a while since fullback John Kuhn found the end zone but he broke the drought with a 1-yard plunge just three plays after Jones’ tip-toe catch.
Used frequently at the goal line earlier in his career, Kuhn hadn’t scored a TD since Week 1 of last year. It was the 29th touchdown of his career, including playoffs, and the feeling never gets old, especially with the Packers fans in attendance audibly chanting his name.
“No, why would it?” he said of crossing the goal line. “It’s one of the better things about playing offense.”
The play was a well-designed misdirection in tight, right after Rodgers had scrambled for 17 yards on second-and-goal from the 18. Kuhn scored without much of a struggle.
“They’ve got so many keys down there and we’re only one yard out,” he said. “It’s all about pad level and trying to drive your legs. The line did an unbelievable job. There was a great hole there at the goal line, and I was very thankful for that.”
Season debut: Defensive lineman Letroy Guion made his 2015 debut, playing a limited number of snaps. The press box stats did not credit him with any tackles.
He admitted he needs to get back in “football shape” after sitting out the first three games with a suspension, but the extra time he spent in the weight room is helping him hold his ground up front.
“I feel like I did OK, but there’s always room for improvement,” he said. “I’m going to go back to work and keep working.”
Streak snapped: When kicker Mason Crosby missed a 44-yard field goal wide left on the final play of the first half, it was his first miss of the season.
Crosby was 6-for-6 on field goals coming in, as well as perfect on extra points. He had made 13 straight field goals dating back to last year’s playoffs. His last miss had been a blocked field goal in Week 17 last season vs. Detroit.
Crosby came back to make a 31-yarder late in the third quarter for the final points of the game.
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