JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — After making a diving catch in the back of the end zone, Jordy Nelson celebrated with teammates and then took a knee.
It was a private moment that seemed to signal the end of a long road back from a knee injury.
Nelson played his first meaningful game in 20 months Sunday, finishing with six catches for 32 yards and a touchdown in a victory at Jacksonville . Nelson didn’t show his usual big-play ability, but he found the end zone and probably gained some confidence in his surgically repaired right knee.
“It feels great having Jordy back,” quarterback Aaron Rodgers said. “He does so many things well out there. He had a great second and third reaction on the TD catch .”
Nelson, who tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee in the 2015 preseason, left the visiting locker room before media were allowed in, so his reaction to his first real game since the 2014 NFC championship will have to wait. It also was his first TD catch in 630 days, since Dec. 21, 2014, at Tampa Bay.
“It was great,” fellow receiver Davante Adams said. “He came back just like he always does. He made several key catches for us to get us yards and first downs when we needed it. He brings a lot to this offense. We’re all glad to have him back out there with us.”
Nelson had half his catches in a four-play stretch late in the first half. The final one was the biggest of the day, though. He ran by linebacker Paul Posluszny, settled into an open spot in Jacksonville’s zone and then threw both arms up to let Rodgers know he was open.
Rodgers, meanwhile, was dancing in the pocket. He took a step forward, started to move left, backpedaled and then sprinted to his right. Somewhere in there, Rodgers spotted Nelson and zipped the ball just past Prince Amukamara’s outstretched hands for a touchdown and a 14-10 lead.
“I know they look to him,” Jaguars coach Gus Bradley said. “We kind of had an idea that they are a really good combination. There’s a lot of trust that goes on between those two. They know each other real well, where they’re going to be on certain routes and Aaron trusts him. Whenever you have that type of a combination, that’s what all teams are trying to build and they are both elite players.”