Packers' receiving corps rises to challenge in second half

Cobb, Adams and Allison combine for 15 catches, 252 yards and three TDs during Green Bay’s rally

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GREEN BAY – Randall Cobb, Davante Adams and Geronimo Allison were like the rest of the 78,282 fans in attendance Sunday night, staring in awe of Aaron Rodgers as the Packers quarterback jogged back to the sideline after halftime.

The Packers' top three receivers didn't know whether Rodgers would return after the two-time NFL MVP was carted to the locker room early in the second quarter of Green Bay's regular-season opener against the Chicago Bears.

However, Green Bay's receiving corps quickly was alerted to Rodgers' presence when the Lambeau Field crowd came to life at the sight of No. 12 emerging from the team's tunnel for the start of the second half.

His timing was impeccable with the Packers trailing by 17 entering the third quarter. While the presence of Rodgers provided a spark to the entire offense, Cobb and Co. knew they had a part to play in a possible comeback.

They responded with one of the biggest offensive onslaughts in recent memory, combining for 15 catches, 252 receiving yards and three touchdowns to buoy a monumental 24-23 win over the Bears in the 197th game of the all-time series.

"In the receiver room, we talk about it all the time – the team goes as we go," said Cobb, who caught nine passes for a career-high 142 yards and a touchdown. "I felt like once we started mixing plays, things started to roll for us. We put all that pressure on ourselves in our room."

The first half couldn't have gone much worse for the Packers, who trailed 17-0 at halftime and watched Rodgers exit after getting sacked by Bears defensive end Roy Robertson-Harris with 9 minutes, 22 seconds left in the second quarter.

After Green Bay was held to a mere 28 passing yards in the first half, Rodgers put together one of the finest two quarters of his career in completing 17-of-23 passes for 273 yards and three touchdowns, producing points on four consecutive series to put the Packers ahead.

The initial jolt came in the form of an eight-play, 81-yard series spanning the end of the third quarter and into the fourth. Allison, who stepped into the No. 3 receiver role this offseason, caught three consecutive passes early in the drive before pulling down a 39-yard touchdown pass from Rodgers over the coverage of Kyle Fuller to cut the deficit to 20-10.

"We have a lot of weapons everywhere and today that was G-mo," said Adams of Allison, who had all but two of his total receiving yards on the possession. "He made a play, made another one, made another and Aaron is good at finding the hot hand. If they want to double me, double Cobb or double Jimmy (Graham), it's G-mo's time to step up and he did that."

The Packers' next offensive series belonged to Adams, whose 51-yard catch-and-run set up his own 12-yard touchdown after diving into the end zone to cut the Bears' lead to three with 9:10 remaining in the game.

Although a Cody Parkey 32-yard field goal pushed the Bears' lead to 23-17 and forced the Packers to score a touchdown to win, Rodgers answered with a pinpoint pass to Cobb in the middle of the field on third-and-10.

As the veteran receiver turned upfield to get the first down, Cobb saw a hole through the middle of Chicago's secondary on his way to a 75-yard touchdown, the longest catch of his career and a 24-23 lead Green Bay wouldn't look back from.

Cobb said the play ranks right up there with his 48-yard touchdown catch on fourth-and-8 in the winner-take-all showdown for the NFC North title with Chicago at Soldier Field back in 2013. 

"I've never seen the field like that – catching the ball and it being wide open like that and having nothing but green grass," said Cobb, who has caught 61 passes for 855 yards and nine touchdowns in 14 career regular-season games against the Bears. "I was just trying to get there as fast as I could."

The Packers felt good about their holdings at receiver going into the season, but Sunday night's second-half performance served as a reminder of how potent Green Bay's passing game can be with Rodgers at the controls.

Regardless of how the season unfolds, however, Sunday night's opener is going to be difficult to top when it comes to drama.

"I was just saying to a few of the guys, 'The rest of the season is going to be boring at this point, the way we started off," said Adams with a laugh. "I've been saying this since I was a rookie – this team, all we need is time and downs and we'll be able to make something happen.

"We have the best quarterback in the game. We have the best wide-receiver corps in the game. I really mean that. I really feel that way. I really trust my guys and have a lot of faith in them."

Green Bay overcame a 20-point deficit to stun the Chicago Bears, 24-23, in the 2018 season opener

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