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Down 21-3, Packers rally to top Jets 31-24

GREEN BAY, Wis. -- The Green Bay Packers fell behind 21-3 but rode Aaron Rodgers and Jordy Nelson and a resurgent defense to a 31-24 victory over the New York Jets on Sunday at Lambeau Field.

The Packers held thanks in part to a poorly timed timeout by the Jets. With the Packers ahead 31-24 with just under five minutes to play, quarterback Geno Smith fired a 36-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Jeremy Kerley. The score and extra point would have tied the game, but officials ruled the Jets bench called a timeout before the snap and replay reviewed showed offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg to be the guilty party.

Rodgers threw for 346 yards and three touchdowns and Nelson had nine receptions for 209 receiving yards as Green Bay avoided starting 0-2. The defense, meanwhile, gave up 100 yard and seven first downs in the second half after being torn to shreds for most of the first half.

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 wide receiver Randall Cobb and a two-point completion to Davante Adams. 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.

After the Mornhinweg timeout, which should not have been allowed under NFL rules that limit on-field personnel and head coaches as the only parties permitted to call for the stoppage, New York got the first down on Smith's 6-yard completion to wide receiver 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 defensive end Quinton Coples and linebacker 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 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 defensive end Mike Daniels and intercepted by cornerback 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, wide receiver 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 21-16.

NOTES: Jets DE Muhammad Wilkerson, a second-team All-Pro last season, was ejected following Green Bay's two-point conversion in the third quarter. After the play, he threw at least two punches at Packers guard Josh Sitton. ... Jets WR Eric Decker injured a hamstring in the third quarter and did not return. ... WR Jordy Nelson's long touchdown gave him four scores of 80-plus yards in his career, tying former WR Greg Jennings' team record. ... PK Mason Crosby's 55-yard field goal was the longest by a Packers kicker at Lambeau Field. ... It was the first loss for the Jets when leading by 18-plus points since 2002. ... The Packers were without RT Bryan Bulaga (knee) and ILB Brad Jones (quad), who were inactive. Green Bay also lost starting S Micah Hyde (knee) on a second-quarter punt return.

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