Green Bay Packers: What did we learn from epic comeback?

The Packers rallied from a 21-3 deficit to beat the Jets, 31-24.
NFL: New York Jets at Green Bay PackersGreen Bay Packers wide receiver Jordy Nelson (87) does the “Lambeau Leap” after catching an 80-yard touchdown pass in the third quarter against the New York Jets at Lambeau Field. (Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports)

(C+P) — Last week, the Green Bay Packers narrowly avoided NFL’s proverbial “black hole,” also known as an 0-2 start. And we all know what happens to those teams. Or maybe we don’t, considering the majority of the time those teams fade into obscurity. Since 1990, only 12 percent of those teams made the playoffs.

Green Bay is not that team. But we already knew that, despite the season-opening thumping at defending Super Bowl champion Seattle.

So what did we learn from an incredible comeback on Sunday that turned a 21-3 deficit into a thrilling 31-24 win over the New York Jets at Lambeau Field? Well, very little actually.

Wide receiver Jordy Nelson had a career-day with 209 receiving yards, which also tied for fourth most in a game in franchise history. It’s the most since Don Beebe piled up 220 yards against San Francisco in 1996.

Nelson caught nine passes on Sunday. It was the third straight regular-season game of nine-plus catches for Nelson. Only Don Hutson (1942) has had three such games in franchise history.

His 80-yard touchdown catch in the third quarter that broke a 24-24 tie and proved to be the game-winner was the fourth scoring grab of 80-plus yards in his career, which ties the franchise record held by Greg Jennings. Both lead all active NFL players in that category.

Nelson is a stellar receiver. But we already knew that.

Green Bay Packers head coach Mike McCarthy (left) and quarterback Aaron Rodgers (right) watch replay review during the first quarter of a game against the New York Jets at Lambeau Field. (Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports)
Green Bay Packers head coach Mike McCarthy (left) and quarterback Aaron Rodgers (right) watch replay review during the first quarter of a game against the New York Jets at Lambeau Field. (Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports)

Kicker Mason Crosby booted a 55-yard field goal late in the second quarter, the longest ever by a Packers player at Lambeau Field. He broke his own previous mark of 54 yards in a 2012 game against Chicago.

But it was only Crosby’s sixth-longest field goal of his career. He has connected from 58 yards in addition to two from 57 and one from 56. In all, Crosby has blasted 20 field goals from 50-plus yards, although he is just 49 percent from that range.

He was good on all three attempts Sunday and has now delivered on 18 straight field goal attempts dating back to last season. He already holds the franchise record with 23 consecutive boots (2010-11) as well as the record for field goals made in consecutive games (17).

Crosby is a good kicker. But we already knew that.

Quarterback Aaron Rodgers threw for 346 yards on Sunday, and in doing so passed the legendary Bart Starr for second place on the Packers’ all-time list. Rogers now has 24,732 yards. Brett Favre tops the list with 61,655 yards.

Rogers threw for 300-plus yards in his fourth consecutive home opener and in doing so surpassed the 3,000-mark in passing attempts. He holds the all-time NFL record for fewest interceptions (53) at that mark.

Rogers is a darn good quarterback. But we already knew that.

The victory on Sunday was Green Bay’s seventh in the last eight home openers under head coach Mike McCarthy. He’s a good coach. But we already knew that.

The Sunday home opener drew 78,041, the 302nd consecutive regular-season sellout at Lambeau Field. Packers’ fans are awesome. But we already knew that.

The comeback was rather exceptional, however. Or was it?

It was the fourth-largest in franchise history. In December of last season the Packers, with Matt Flynn subbing for the injured Rogers, directed a second-half comeback in Dallas that wiped out the Cowboys’ 26-3 lead. Flynn rallied the Packers to an improbable 37-36 victory.

That tied the team record for largest comeback (23 points); originally set by the 1982 Starr-coached Packers, who rallied from a 23-0 deficit at Milwaukee’s County Stadium to beat the Los Angeles Rams, 35-23, behind the efforts of quarterback Lynn Dickey.

The Packers are a fun team to watch. But we already knew that.

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