Rodgers, Nelson, Defense Power Big Rally

The Packers, on the verge of getting blown out at 21-3, stormed back behind their dynamic duo of Aaron Rodgers and Jordy Nelson.

The Green Bay Packers rode the dynamic duo of Aaron Rodgers and Jordy Nelson and a resurgent defense to a 31-24 victory over the New York Jets on Sunday at Lambeau Field.

Rodgers threw for 346 yards and three touchdowns, with 209 of the yards coming to Nelson as the Packers (1-1) turned what looked like a blowout loss into a tie for first place in the NFC North. The defense, meanwhile, gave up 100 yards and seven first downs in the second half after being torn to shreds for most of the first half.

It was the biggest comeback in Rodgers' career, trumping 14-point rallies against Atlanta in 2011 and Detroit in 2012.

The Packers, who trailed 21-3 and were on the verge of getting blown out at home late in the first half, rallied to a 31-24 lead with 2:08 to play in the third quarter.

After pulling within 21-16 at halftime, Green Bay took a 24-21 lead on Rodgers’ third-and-goal touchdown pass to Cobb and a two-point completion to Cobb. New York tied the game – but only briefly – on Nick Folk’s 52-yard field goal. On the first play after the kickoff, Rodgers hit Nelson for an 80-yard touchdown. Nelson beat cornerback Dee Milliner up the sideline, catching the ball at the 50, then eluded safety Calvin Pryor by cutting back across the middle.

The Jets appeared to have tied the game when Geno Smith hit Jeremy Kerley for a 36-yard touchdown on fourth-and-4 with about 5 minutes remaining. However, someone from the Jets called a timeout. New York got the first down on Smith’s 6-yard completion to David Nelson, but the drive stalled and Smith, facing pressure up the middle, threw incomplete to Kerley in the end zone against double coverage. The Packers got the clinching first down on Rodgers’ 15-yard completion to Nelson on third-and-4.

The Packers couldn’t have possibly started the game on a worse note. After the Jets won the opening coin toss and deferred, Rodgers and rookie center Corey Linsley botched the first snap of the game. Sheldon Richardson recovered for the Jets at the Packers’ 16, and they scored five plays later on Smith’s bootleg from the 1.

That enormous gaffe notwithstanding, New York simply was dominant for most of the first half. On the ensuing possession, sacks by Quinton Coples and Demario Davis forced a punt, and the Jets used two big plays to score again to lead 14-0 just six-and-a-half minutes into the game. A 39-yard option flip to receiver Jeremy Kerley on third-and-1 set up a perfect deep ball to Eric Decker for a 29-yard touchdown on third-and-3.

Green Bay managed a field goal on the next possession but the Jets’ offense again proved indefensible as they roared to a 21-3 lead. Incredibly, the Jets converted a third-and-1, a third-and-6, a fourth-and-2 and a third-and-3. Chris Ivory powered in from the 4 to cap a 17-play, 80-yard drive that burned 8:28 off the clock.

The Packers made it a game late in the first half. Mason Crosby’s 55-yard field goal pulled the Packers within 21-9, but the Jets recovered an onside kick and took over near midfield. With the Jets driving to potentially put the game away, Smith was hit by Mike Daniels and intercepted by Tramon Williams at the 3-yard line with 1:26 to play in the half.

Rodgers then drove the Packers 97 yards. On third-and-10, Davante Adams’ 24-yard catch-and-run to the 6-yard line set up Rodgers’ 6-yard touchdown to Randall Cobb to draw Green Bay within 21-6.

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Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and, and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at, or leave him a question in Packer Report’s subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at

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