Aaron Rodgers makes Redskins pay on free play to spark Packers

LANDOVER, Md. -- Remember when the Green Bay Packers’ offense was so successful? That might be tough because it was so long ago. But early the season, Aaron Rodgers feasted on free plays.

He’d catch defenses with 12 men on the field.

He’d get them to jump offside.

Rodgers got back to doing that in Sunday’s NFC wild-card playoff game against the Washington Redskins at FedEx Field.

It accounted for their first touchdown after they fell behind 11-0 and sparked a rally that was the start of 17 straight points.

Rodgers pulled the daily double when he not only caught the Redskins with 12 men on the field but also got defensive end Ricky Jean Francois to jump on the same play -- a second-and-10 from the Washington 12-yard line.

Sure enough, Rodgers made the Redskins pay. He kept the play alive and found Randall Cobb in the end zone for a touchdown against cornerback Will Blackmon.

It was Rodgers’ third touchdown pass of the season on a free play. He had two in the regular season. The rest of the NFL had just one, according to ESPN Stats & Information. The Packers drew a dozen flags for defensive 12 men on field in the regular season, eight more than any other team.

It was also Cobb’s first touchdown catch since Week 11.

The Packers fell behind 11-0. If they come back to win, it would be only the second time in franchise history they’ve come back to win a playoff game after trailing by 11 or more points (the other was in the 2007 divisional round against Seattle, when they overcame a 14-0 deficit to win 42-20).

The Packers scored all 17 of their first-half points in the second quarter, when Rodgers went 14-of-20 for 148 yards and two touchdowns.

James Jones caught six passes (his most in a first half this season) for 74 yards.