Aaron Rodgers rebounds from injury, powers Packers to comeback win

GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Aaron Rodgers made a return for the ages in the second half to lead the Packers back from a 20-point deficit for a 24-23 season-opening victory over the Chicago Bears.

Rodgers' season appeared to be in peril when he suffered a left knee injury in the first half. But the Packers' season outlook remains bright after he threw three touchdowns and tied the largest comeback in his NFL career.

The go-ahead score was a 75-yard catch-and-run touchdown by Randall Cobb with 2:13 remaining.

"Aaron Rodgers was remarkable. I just can't tell you how proud I am with him,'' Green Bay coach Mike McCarthy said.

Rodgers was injured when Bears defensive end Roy Robertson-Harris seemed to fall on his left knee after a second-quarter sack. Rodgers stood up, tried to put weight on his left leg and then crumbled to the ground. The Packers quarterback finally walked off Lambeau Field under his own power.

After nearly 10 minutes in the sideline examination tent, the team's medical staff carted Rodgers to the locker room midway through the second quarter.

"It was painful," Rodgers said.

In high school, Rodgers tore his ACL in the same knee, an injury that wasn't surgically repaired until college. It's also the same knee he had minor surgery on following the 2015 season.

Rodgers said he would undergo additional tests on Monday, but "as long as there are no major issues, I'll keep playing."

As if the Packers' home opener wasn't off to a rough enough start before Rodgers' injury, the offense was booed off the field just two minutes into the second quarter after a third straight punt. Rodgers was 3-of-7 passing for 13 yards and sacked twice before leaving the game. He was 17-of-23 passing for 273 yards with three touchdowns after he returned.

In between, former Cleveland Browns starter DeShone Kizer, who went 0-15 as a rookie last season, replaced Rodgers with the Packers trailing 10-0. Kizer's first two series after Rodgers departed were disastrous, both because of the newest Bears defender, Khalil Mack. Mack ended Kizer's first series with a strip-sack, as he ripped the ball out of the quarterback's hands. Then he picked off a Kizer screen pass and returned it 27 yards for a touchdown that gave the Bears a 17-0 lead.

Kizer's interception was his 23rd since the start of last season. No other quarterback has even 20 interceptions in that span, according to ESPN Stats & Information research.

The Packers traded Rodgers' backup last season, Brett Hundley, to the Seattle Seahawks last month for a sixth-round pick. Hundley started nine games -- and won only three -- last season after Rodgers broke his right collarbone.

It was 10-0 when Rodgers left Sunday's contest. It was 20-0 when he returned. The win tied the biggest comeback of Rodgers' career, according to ESPN Stats & Information data. He also came back from down 20 when he threw a Hail Mary to beat the Detroit Lions in 2015.

"I felt like once I got back out there, when the adrenaline was going, it loosened up a little bit," Rodgers said. "But then it tightened up there in the fourth quarter. I was walking up and down the sideline trying to keep it loose. We'll do tests [Monday], and you'll get a better answer Wednesday when I talk."

Late last month, Rodgers signed a record four-year, $134 million contract extension.

"Well, this is what we're paid to do," said Rodgers, 34. "We're paid to deal with injuries and play through 'em. That's what everybody is doing and will be doing throughout this season. That's the measure of a teammate, is what are you willing to put on the line for your team? And to me, it's a no-brainer. Being out there is special. The ovation from the crowd lifts you up, gives the energy, the momentum of the game, and you feel the tide turning. It's special.

"This will definitely go down as one of my favorite memories, especially in this rivalry."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.