Nelson has career day, Packers beat Jets 31-24
GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) — New York Jets coach Rex Ryan paid the Packers’ Jordy Nelson perhaps the highest compliment that a wideout can receive.
It’s hard to top the career-high 209 yards receiving that Nelson amassed against the Jets.
Nelson’s 80-yard touchdown catch put his team up for good late in the third quarter and New York’s last foray into Packers territory fizzled in the fourth in Green Bay’s 31-24 win Sunday that completed a comeback from an 18-point deficit.
“They deserved the game. They made the plays when it counted,” Jets coach Rex Ryan said. “That one kid was (Hall of Fame receiver) Jerry Rice out there today.”
Not even the return of New York’s top cornerback, Dee Milliner, could help Ryan’s secondary. Nelson beat Milliner with a double move on an out-and-up route for his long score.
Aaron Rodgers was 25 of 42 for 346 yards and three touchdowns, including the long score to Nelson.
“Well, pretty impressive. Take it for granted sometimes. He’s not a big ‘me’ guy ... so he kind of gets overlooked sometimes,” Rodgers said about Nelson. “We know the kind of player he is.”
Nelson had nine catches and Cobb finished with five catches for 39 yards and two touchdowns. A Packers defense dented for three touchdowns in the game’s first 20 minutes surrendered just a field goal the rest of the way.
Still, the Jets had a chance to tie late. It looked as though that had happened with 5 minutes left on a 37-yard touchdown catch by Jeremy Kerley on fourth down — but it was negated because the Jets (1-1) called a timeout from the sideline just before the snap.
“It’s a game of adversity. It’s a game of momentum swings. It’s a game of big plays,” Packers coach Mike McCarthy said. “We were in a spot, but our players stayed the course.”
Other things that stood out Sunday with the Packers (1-1) avoiding their first 0-2 start since 2006:
SECONDARY THOUGHTS: The Jets were hoping the return of Milliner from a high ankle sprain would help bolster a questionable secondary.
He ended up being part of the problem on Nelson’s long touchdown catch. Safety Calvin Pryor was late coming over to help, and Nelson won a footrace to the end zone.
“We just messed up at the end. We started like we wanted to, we started fast,” Milliner said. “We’ve just got to finish the game and just put them away when we get a chance to.”
SECONDARY THOUGHTS, PART II: With the Jets on the verge of another score in the first half, the Packers were in desperate need of a big play.
Cornerback Tramon Williams stepped up and in front of tight end Zach Sudfeld for an interception at the Packers 3.
That play, combined with Mason Crosby’s 55-yard field goal with 3:12 left in the second quarter helped swing momentum.
The offense followed Williams’ pick with a 10-play, 97-yard drive in 1:44 that ended with a 6-yard score from Rodgers to Cobb to get the Packers to 21-16 at the half.
“You never want to come out that flat, you never expect to come out that flat, but we did and we found a way to get through it,” Williams said.
THROWN OUT: Cobb followed a 1-yard touchdown catch in the third quarter with a 2-point conversion reception to put the Packers up by three.
That play also led to a shoving match in the end zone resulting in an unnecessary roughness penalty on defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson. It appeared that Wilkerson may have taken swings at Packers linemen David Bakhtiari and Josh Sitton.
Officials ejected Wilkerson, who later apologized to teammates.
“I lost my cool, I let my emotions get the best of me. I apologized to the team and everybody and I told them it won’t happen again,” he said.
COMING BACK: Rodgers fumbled the ball away on the Packers’ first play of the opening drive. The Jets built a 21-3 lead that left Bakhtiari shell-shocked.
“Wow, I can’t believe they’re up 21-3 on us. We’re at home, the Green Bay Packers, it’s a little different. We were a little stunned,” he said.
Then the defense figured out the Jets’ running game. The Packers’ passing attack took over from there. McCarthy said his players showed grit and character.
TRAINER’S ROOM: Eric Decker left with sore hamstring in the fourth quarter, depriving quarterback Geno Smith of his top receiver late in the game. Safety Micah Hyde was the most notable player hurt for the Packers after he appeared to injure a knee while getting tackled on a punt return.