Although he didn’t hoist himself into the stands during Saturday's game against the Vikings, Jordy Nelson orchestrated a memorable Lambeau leap nonetheless.
The jump was figurative, not literal. No one has caught more touchdown passes at Lambeau Field than Nelson.
The veteran receiver became the sole record holder during Green Bay’s 38-25 victory over Minnesota. He grabbed a pair of touchdown passes and surpassed 100 yards receiving as the Packers won their fifth game in a row.
Nelson is nearing the end of what has been a comeback season to remember. He has been particularly effective at Lambeau Field.
Green Bay’s 13-point victory capped the 60th regular season of play at the historic venue. It was also Nelson’s 60th regular-season game there.
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Nearly 1,500 players have caught a pass at the stadium since it opened in 1957. More than 400 have reached the end zone via a pass reception.
No receiver has crossed the Lambeau goal line more often than Nelson. His two scores against the Vikings boosted his regular-season career TD reception total at the stadium to 38, two more than previous record-holder Antonio Freeman.
Nelson broke Freeman’s mark on the Packers’ second possession. On third and four from the Minnesota 21, he caught a short pass from Aaron Rodgers at the 12 and headed for the goal.
Coming from behind, Vikings linebacker Eric Kendricks dove and grabbed hold of Nelson’s lower right leg. Nelson started to go down at the 2, but stretched the ball across the white line before his knees hit the ground.
With 7:13 remaining in the first quarter, Green Bay was ahead 7-0.
Nelson came through again on the Packers’ fifth offensive series. He broke free from linebacker Anthony Barr in the end zone to accept a 2-yard pass as he slid to the ground.
Green Bay increased its lead to 21-6.
No. 87 has been playing since 2008. The fact he was on the field for every offensive snap as Green Bay built a 38-13 lead underscores his value.
Nelson played each of the Packers’ first 55 offensive snaps. The only other receiver or running back out there for more than 50 was Davante Adams (51).
A year ago, Nelson missed an entire season due to a torn ACL. This season, he has caught 91 passes for 1,191 yards and 14 touchdowns. That’s not too far from his contribution in 2014 of 98 receptions, 1,519 yards and 13 TDs.
What he has accomplished is more than a comeback. It’s a go forward — and in a big way.
On Sunday, Nelson (491 career regular-season catches) moved past Don Hutson (488) into fourth place on the team’s all-time receiving list. He trails only Donald Driver (743), Sterling Sharpe (595) and James Lofton (530).
While Nelson has excelled regardless of setting, he has done some of his best work at home. What follows should give some indication as to how well he has performed at Lambeau Field in the regular season.
Against the Vikings, Nelson caught nine passes for 154 yards. It was the 12th time has surpassed 100 yards. Freeman (14) is the only player to have hit triple digits more often.
In the first half alone, Nelson had seven catches for 145 yards. That first-half yardage is fourth-best all time behind Freeman (169), James Jones (152) and Nelson himself (152).
Nelson’s haul was the fourth time he has amassed 100 or more yards before halftime. Of the 29 players to have accomplished this feat, Nelson is the only one to have done it four times. James Lofton and Freeman, each with three, are next in line.
This season, Nelson caught 46 passes at home. That ties the stadium single-season record first established by Robert Brooks in 1995 and equaled by Freeman in 1998.
The 31-year-old has nine receiving touchdowns in home games. He previously had nine in 2014 and a team-record 13 in 2011.
And if that isn’t enough, Nelson has caught at least one TD pass at Lambeau Field in eight different seasons. That ties him with Lofton for second best behind Driver's 12.
All those touchdowns have made Nelson (230 points) the fourth-leading scorer at the stadium. He moved past Paul Hornung (219) and trails Mason Crosby (663), Ryan Longwell (560) and Chris Jacke (267).
Nelson’s first TD catch at Lambeau Field was the Packers’ final score in a 24-21 loss to the Texans on Dec. 7, 2008. The rookie beat cornerback Fred Bennett on a 9-yard score and then leaped into the stands behind the south end zone.
Nelson didn’t do any leaping after his two most recent scores. Earlier this season he expressed doubts he would continue the ritual, citing age and concerns for his knees.
pro-football-reference.com served as a reference for this article.
Nelson has a way to go to become the all-time reception leader at Lambeau Field. His 228 catches are second most, well behind the 363 of Driver.
A Score or More
Players with 20 or more regular-season receiving touchdowns in Lambeau Field history.
38 Jordy Nelson
36 Antonio Freeman
27 Donald Driver
23 Greg Jennings
20 Randall Cobb
20 Sterling Sharpe