Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Jaguars Notebook; Nortman Excels in Opening Game with Jaguars

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Jaguars Notebook; Nortman Excels in Opening Game with Jaguars

Article excerpt

Byline: Phillip Heilman

Throughout the off-season, the Jaguars emphasized and re-emphasized the importance of getting off to strong starts in games.

They failed to deliver against Green Bay in their first opportunity, but punter Brad Nortman made sure a bad beginning didn't get any worse.

Nortman was called on twice in the first half and delivered a pair of brilliant punts that pinned the Packers at their 3-yard line each time to help the Jaguars recover from early mistakes, which included a Blake Bortles interception and ensuing Packers touchdown.

"Unbelievable," coach Gus Bradley said Monday of the special teams. "Check marks by every category that we had hoped to accomplish."

Nortman's performance was just what the team envisioned when it signed him away from Carolina in March.

Trailing 7-0, the Jaguars' offense stalled on its second drive after a third-down sack. Nortman's 58-yard booming punt was downed at the Packers' 3.

The Jaguars forced a quick three-and-out by Green Bay to give the offense good field position (Packers' 48). Running back T.J. Yeldon scored on a 5-yard touchdown to cap a three-play drive.

"When you look back at the beginning of the game ... that's not exactly how we wanted to start," Bradley said. "What I give credit to this team is the poise they had."

Nortman's second effort was another critical play.

He booted a 67-yarder - finishing with a 62.5-yard average that would have been second in the league after Week 1's Sunday games had Nortman punted enough times to qualify - that trickled to the 3.

Again, the Packers were forced to work from deep in their own territory. And again, a three-and-out from the Jaguars defense led to good field position for the offense.

Jason Myers then made the first of his three field goals (distances of 26, 39 and 50) to put the Jaguars up 10-7.

"You always want to get off to a good start [to] keep this rolling to the next weekend," Myers said.

ALUALU MISSES FIRST GAME

Expecting the Packers to use three-receiver sets often and therefore not need as many run-stuffing defensive linemen, the Jaguars opted to make defensive end Tyson Alualu inactive for the first time during his six-year career. …

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