CLEVELAND >> The Green Bay Packers came back to set the stage for Aaron Rodgers’ comeback.
Brett Hundley threw a 25-yard touchdown pass to Davante Adams in overtime as the Packers rallied from a two-touchdown deficit in the fourth quarter for a 27-21 win today over the Cleveland Browns, who remain winless.
Cleveland fell to 0-13 and made too many crucial mistakes to break into the win column.
On third-and-6, Hundley threw a short pass to Adams, who broke a tackle and went in untouched with 5:05 left as the Packers (7-6) won in overtime for the second straight week — and third time this season. The Packers have stayed alive in the playoff race without Rodgers, who has been out since Oct. 15 with a broken collarbone but is expected to play next Sunday.
It was another devastating loss for the Browns (0-13). Green Bay’s TD came after safety Josh Jones intercepted Browns rookie DeShone Kizer, who inexplicably threw the ball up for grabs while being pressured by Clay Matthews.
Down 21-14 heading into the fourth period, the Packers, who beat Tampa Bay last week in overtime, rallied on Hundley’s 1-yard TD pass to Adams with 17 seconds left in regulation. A 65-yard punt return by Trevor Davis set up Green Bay’s score, which came after Hundley was ruled down inside the 1 after an apparent 6-yard scoring run. Out of timeouts, coach Mike McCarthy elected not to risk a run and Hundley rifled his pass into the corner for Adams, who beat Jason McCourty on the play.
Hundley’s tight spiral was reminiscent of so many thrown by Rodgers, who practiced in pads this week and can now come back and finish a season that took a dramatic turn when he was slammed to the turf seven weeks ago.
Hundley finished 35 of 46 with three touchdowns and made the big plays when he had to against the lowly Browns.
Cleveland was in position to run out the clock before overtime but rookie tight end David Njoku dropped a key third-down pass. Cleveland’s punt team couldn’t bring down Davis, who weaved his way to the Browns 25.
Kizer threw three touchdown passes, one to Josh Gordon, and went 20 of 28 for 214 yards. But he’ll be haunted by the late pick, rolling to his left and trying to throw against his body while Matthews closed in.
For the second year in a row, the Browns are three losses from joining the 2008 Detroit Lions as the only teams to go 0-16. Cleveland was 0-14 last year before beating the Chargers on Christmas Eve. Cleveland’s heartbreaking loss closed a turbulent week: The team fired Sashi Brown, its top front office executive, and owner Jimmy Haslam said coach Hue Jackson will return next season.
Isaiah Crowell rushed for 121 yards on 19 carries. Gordon, playing his first home game since Dec. 14, 2014, had three catches for 69 yards and caught an 18-yard TD pass in the first quarter that he celebrated by putting on sunglasses.
Green Bay pulled within 21-14 early in the fourth on rookie Jamaal Williams’ second touchdown.
Kizer’s 7-yard TD shovel pass to Duke Johnson gave the Browns a 14-7 lead in the second quarter.
After missing some scoring opportunities last week in Los Angeles, Gordon was confident he and Kizer would connect against the Packers. They did just that on Cleveland’s first play, hooking up for 38 yards. Moments later, Kizer threaded a perfect pass over the middle to Gordon, who made a leaping catch in the end zone for his first TD since Dec. 15, 2013. When he returned to the sideline, Gordon pulled off his helmet and put on a pair of dark sunglasses, then strutted in celebration before hugging Jackson.
They had to fake a punt to keep their first offensive drive going, but the Packers scored their league-leading seventh touchdown on their opening possession.
Cleveland’s halftime lead was its second this season, and first on American soil. The Browns led the Vikings 13-12 at halftime of their Oct. 29 game in London before losing 33-16.
Packers: CB Davon House was carted off in the fourth quarter with a back injury. House’s feet got tangled and he fell hard to the turf. … TE Lance Kendricks returned after sustaining a jaw injury in the third quarter.
Packers: At Carolina Dec. 17
Browns: Host Baltimore in their final home game Sunday.