GREEN BAY, Wis. (CBSNewYork/AP) — For a moment, it seemed as if the New York Jets had tied the Green Bay Packers.
Touchdown — Jeremy Kerley on a 37-yard pass on fourth down from Geno Smith with about 5 minutes left to the game.
One problem: Somebody on the Jets’ sideline called timeout just before the snap to negate the play.
“That’s a classic Jets loss,” WFAN co-host Craig Carton said Monday morning.
A last-ditch pass on fourth-and-8 with 3:31 left to a double-covered Kerley in the end zone was tipped away. The Packers completed their comeback from an 18-point deficit to beat New York 31-24 in their home opener.
“We can’t take those things back,” Smith said. “That happened. As a player, as a quarterback, you still want to go down there and score a touchdown and we failed to get that done.”
There was confusion initially over who called time. Later defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson said he was to blame because he leaned over to tell the referee when he saw offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg calling for time.
“I just know for a fact I did not call the timeout,” coach Rex Ryan said.
“By the time I was yelling to help them call timeout, I guess they were fine with the play,” Richardson said. “They wanted to go on with it. It just happens like that. A miscue on my part.”
Wide receiver David Nelson called the play “one of those emotional punches to the gut.”
“It was such a great play,” he said. “We’re battling as hard as we can and something finally goes right and it gets out of the rut you’re in and it doesn’t count.”
Regardless, the Jets had other problems.
Aaron Rodgers threw for three touchdowns and Jordy Nelson had a career-high 209 yards receiving. The Packers (1-1) held on to avoid their first 0-2 start since 2006.
Randall Cobb caught two short scoring strikes and a 2-point conversation that gave the Packers a 24-21 lead in the third quarter.
Rodgers finished 25 of 42 with 346 yards, Nelson had nine catches and Cobb finished with five catches for 39 yards.
Green Bay went up 31-24 late in the third quarter when Nelson worked a double move on Dee Milliner for an 80-yard touchdown catch. The Packers then had the lead for good.
“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.
To add to the Jets’ problems, defensive leader Muhammad Wilkerson was ejected for throwing punches after Green Bay took the lead in the third quarter.
“I can’t do that,” Wilkerson said. “I’m the leader of this team. That’s just not the way I’m supposed to act.”
Just a couple of hours earlier, it looked as if the home crowd was going to witness a surprising loss.
Chris Ivory barreled up the middle for a 4-yard score at 10:38 of the second quarter that left the fans in stunned silence with the Packers down 21-3.
Slowly, but surely, the offense started chipping away. Then, the defense came up with some big stops late.
Clay Matthews tipped away a pass by Smith on first down to start one three-and-out drive by the Jets in the fourth quarter.
Eric Decker departed with a hamstring injury early in the fourth, depriving Smith of his top receiving target.
The Jets tried backup Michael Vick at quarterback on one play, but he was taken down from behind in the open by Matthews for a sack. That drive ended with the pass breakup on Kerley in the end zone.
“We got a chance to put our foot on their throats down in the red zone and we don’t do so,” Smith said.
He finished 16 of 32 for 176 yards with one touchdown and one interception. Decker had four catches for 63 yards, while Ivory led the Jets on the ground with 13 carries and 43 yards.
“This was a rough one,” Ryan said. “We thought the game was really going the way we expected it go.”
The Packers’ comeback started with a 13-point flurry in the final 5:43 of the first half.
Mason Crosby hit field goals from 20 and 55 yards, the latter setting a Packers record at Lambeau Field.
Then, the Packers got the defensive break they desperately needed when Tramon Williams stepped in front of tight end Zach Sudfeld for an interception at the Packers 3.
“We all played it out, and we got in a rhythm offensively and defensively,” Williams said. “But 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.”
Rodgers followed with 10-play, 97-yard drive in 1:44 that ended with a 6-yard scoring strike to Cobb to get the Packers within five at the half.
Until then, it was second-year quarterback Smith who was having success. He connected with Decker for a 29-yard touchdown on pretty touch pass over cornerback Shields for an early 14-0 lead. That score was set up by a 37-yard run by Kerley on a read-option pitch from Smith.
The Jets’ running game looked like as though it couldn’t be stopped. But the Packers defense adjusted — and Rodgers, Nelson and Cobb took over from there.
NOTES: The Jets finished with 312 yards in total offense, but only 100 after halftime. … New York had four sacks, including two from LB Demario Davis. … Nelson had the fourth touchdown catch of 80 or more yards in his career, tying the franchise record held by Greg Jennings.
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