Advertisement

You will be redirected to the page you want to view in  seconds.

Eric Goska column: Nelson the go-to target on third down

Dec. 15, 2013
 

Loading Photo Galleries ...

  • Filed Under
Green Bay Packers wide receiver Jordy Nelson nabs a touchdown pass against Dallas Cowboys cornerback Orlando Scandrick during the second half of Sunday's game in Arlington, Texas. / AP

3D Receiving

Most consecutive games with one or more third-down reception by a Packers player at the start of a season.

No. PlayerYear
14Jordy Nelson2013
14Javon Walker2004
11Don Hutson1940
11Don Hutson 1942
10Greg Jennings2008

More

Jordy Nelson wonít be at the top of the list when discussing which player was most responsible for Green Bayís improbable win in Dallas.

But itís time the six-year veteran received some recognition for his receiving skills on third down, a talent he used to help the Packers launch one of the greatest comebacks in their 95-year history.

Down 26-3 at halftime, Nelson and the offense led a second-half surge that produced 34 points and a 37-36 win over the Cowboys. The 23-point comeback tied the team record set on opening day 1982 against the Los Angeles Rams.

Nelson leaped over cornerback Orlando Scandrick on third down to snag a 13-yard TD pass from Matt Flynn early in the third quarter. It capped a lightning-quick, 80-yard drive that pulled the Packers to 26-10.

On Green Bayís next drive, Nelson one-handed a toss from Flynn for 21 yards and a first down at the Cowboysí 35-yard line. He held on despite pass interference from Scandrick, and the catch furthered an advance that culminated with a TD pass to tight end Andrew Quarless that cut the lead to 29-17.

In all, Nelson caught three passes for 47 yards on third down. His first, a gain of 13 in the first quarter, came on third-and-26, a down-and-distance in line with the teamís early ineptitude.

Third down. One can imagine all involved taking a deep breath before play begins.

Perhaps Curly Lambeau did so prior to connecting with Almore (Buff) Wagner on Oct. 23, 1921. Wagnerís third-down reception was one of the earliest, if not the first, of its kind for the Packers who scored five plays later to defeat the Minneapolis Marines 7-6.

Today, itís often Nelson on the receiving end. The big target has 25 third-down receptions this season ó well ahead of Jarrett Boykinís second-place total of 10 ó and will lead the team in this department for the first time in his career.

Nelsonís first catch on third down came against the Lions on Sept. 14, 2008. The rookie scored on a 29-yard throw from Aaron Rodgers as Green Bay blew out the Lions 48-25.

That season, Donald Driver paced the team with 25 catches on third down. In the years that followed, Greg Jennings (26), Driver (16), Jermichael Finley (19) and Randall Cobb (24) led the club.

Nelsonís highest finish was third in 2012, when he had 15.

Not only is Nelson hot on third down, but in Dallas he also equaled a feat accomplished only once before in franchise history. He and Javon Walker (2004) are the only players to have caught at least one third-down pass in each of the first 14 games of a season.

Nelson had his best game in Minnesota in late October. There he caught four third-down passes for 105 yards, including a 76-yarder for a touchdown.

Seven times heís caught only one third-down pass. He came closest to getting shut out in Baltimore, where he snared a 9-yarder for a first down on Green Bayís final scoring drive.

Against Dallas, Nelson twice produced first downs. He has done so 20 times on third down this season, most by a Packer since Jennings had 23 in 2009.

With Nelson as catalyst, Green Bay converted 6 of 7 third downs in the second half, coming up short only on Flynnís final kneel down. Nelsonís sure hands helped Flynn go 5-for-5 for 75 yards on third down after intermission.

Extra point

The Cowboys, who came into the game sporting a passer rating of 108.7 in the fourth quarter, came up far short of that against the Packers. Romo tossed one TD pass and completed 8 of 13 passes for 72 yards, but he was intercepted by Sam Shields and Tramon Williams to earn a rating of 62.5.

ó aegoska@sbcglobal.net

What's your take on the Packers Family Night change?

Retrieving results.
Watching practice is fine.(Your vote)
15%
574 votes
I'd rather watch a scrimmage.(Your vote)
23%
856 votes
I don't want to pay to watch practice.(Your vote)
27%
1015 votes
It doesn't matter to me.(Your vote)
34%
1271 votes

Catch up on the latest in our pregame show every game day.

Football fans

If you've ever answered "Who has the ball?" with "It's halftime," you might recognize The Airhead. Check out the characters in our cartoon gallery of oddball fans.

Special Reports

ORDER YOURS

Football fans

If you've ever answered "Who has the ball?" with "It's halftime," you might recognize The Airhead. Check out the characters in our cartoon gallery of oddball fans.

Special Reports