<
>

Jordy Nelson made case for comeback award to chants of 'Jordy, Jordy'

Jordy Nelson was dashing through the snow and by the Texans, helping spur the Packers to a needed win. Dylan Buell/Getty Images

GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Jordy Nelson's days of out-sprinting cornerbacks -- unless, of course, they fall down like one did in the snow at Lambeau Field on Sunday -- might be over. But with another 100-yard game and another touchdown catch, the Green Bay Packers receiver has presented a solid case for the NFL's Comeback Player of the Year.

Sunday's performance should be entered as another piece of evidence on his behalf.

Nelson caught eight passes for 118 yards -- his third 100-yard game of the season -- and caught his 10th touchdown pass of the season when Texans cornerback Charles James II wiped out in the snow, leaving Nelson wide open for a 32-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter of Sunday's 21-13 win.

The 31-year-old former Pro Bowler regained the team lead from Davante Adams in receiving yards (870) and extended his team lead in receptions (69) and touchdown catches (10). He reached double digits in touchdowns for the third time in his career.

Even without the deep balls that made him so productive before he tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee on Aug. 23, 2015 -- causing him to miss all of last season -- Nelson has found a way to produce in spots like Sunday.

"I don't know how much more Jordy needs to prove," Packers coach Mike McCarthy said after Sunday's game. "He's going through what every great player goes through in that first year back from major injury. He practices every day, and those are the little things that are probably most important because I think his performance speaks for itself."

Nelson has plenty of competition for the award; DeMarco Murray already has topped the 1,000-yard rushing mark for Tennessee after a lost year in Philadelphia last season, and Melvin Gordon is on his way to that mark in San Diego. Meanwhile, quarterback Matt Ryan has resurrected the Falcons with a stellar season.

However, Nelson is on pace for 92 catches, 1,162 yards and 13 touchdowns. Granted, he's been aided by the Packers' pass-happy offense.

"It's fun," Nelson said. "We just need to continue to win games and we'll look at all of that later. I put in the work throughout the offseason to get back to this point. It's fun to be back out there with the guys. Every time you get in the end zone, you've got to enjoy it."

Nelson admitted less than a month ago that he doesn't feel like he's all the way back to his pre-torn ACL form, but his quarterback never lost any confidence in him.

"It never, never changed," Aaron Rodgers said. "I mean, I've always been confident throwing him the ball, you know, any type of throw."

Nelson's best moments in Sunday's win over the Texans came in the fourth quarter. There was the 32-yard touchdown and then grabs of 21 and 28 yards on the next drive that put the game away. Nelson showed some rare emotion, getting fired up after a hit on the sideline from Texans safety Corey Moore. After Moore leveled Nelson with what looked like a helmet-to-helmet hit on the 21-yard catch, Nelson bounced up and gave an emphatic first-down signal. His 28-yarder came on a leaping grab that prompted chants of "Jordy, Jordy" from the crowd.

"It's fun to be out there playing and making plays," Nelson said. "I think that's what I said -- what you miss most is Sunday. Honestly, it's fun to practice every day. You kind of get away from that. That's what I'm enjoying right now. At the end of the year, we can look back at numbers and everything else and hopefully we can get a few more wins."