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Packers vs. Texans: The Aftermath

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Packers vs. Texans: The Aftermath

The Packers routed the Texans 42-24 on Sunday night.

Making The Most Of Opportunities

The Packers have been on the wrong side of a few calls this season, but the Green and Gold caught a break on the opening possessions of each half Sunday night.

On the offense’s first possession of the game, Texans’ rookie special teamer DeVier Posey lined up offsides on a Tim Masthay punt, giving the Packers a fresh set of downs.

On the very next play, Aaron Rodgers dropped back to pass and lofted the ball over the left shoulder of Jordy Nelson. Nelson hauled in the 41-yard rainbow and dove for the pylon to open up the game’s scoring.

The beginning of the second half also started in a similar fashion. After marching down the field, the offense stalled in the red zone but the Texans committed two costly penalties giving the Packers new life.

Two drops by Packers’ receivers set up a Mason Crosby field goal attempt, but during the kick, the Texans committed an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty which gave Green Bay an automatic first down.

Another drop by a Packers’ receiver appeared to doom the offense again, but Texans’ safety Danieal Manning punched Packers’ tackle Marshall Newhouse in the helmet, drawing yet another penalty and setting up Jordy Nelson’s third touchdown catch of the game.

Favre-like?

Reigning MVP Aaron Rodgers is looking more and more like his predecessor in Green Bay.

Think about it. How often did Brett Favre come out jittery and overthrow his receivers early in games? And how Favre-esque was that shovel pass to Tom Crabtree in the first quarter?

How about the play where Rodgers scrambled, made J.J. Watt miss and found a streaking Randall Cobb in stride for a 24-yard gain? Or the laser-like throw to Jordy Nelson for Rodgers’ third touchdown pass of the night?

Normally, any sort of Aaron Rodgers versus Brett Favre comparison is unwelcome, but perhaps enough time has passed to start equating the two in a favorable fashion.

Getting Defensive

The Packers defense started the evening without nose tackle B.J. Raji and lost three more starters to injury as the game wore on. Regardless of who saw the field, however, Dom Capers’ unit dominated.

The defense held the Texans’ three stars to pedestrian numbers. Quarterback Matt Schuab finished the game with no touchdown passes and two interceptions, running back Arian Foster scored on two short runs but was held to 29 rushing yards and receiver Andre Johnson caught 8 balls for 75 yards and no touchdowns.

Aside from a couple blown coverages in the third quarter, the Packers kept the pressure on Schuab all night and forced the Texans to abandon their usually potent ground attack.

Add in the defense’s three interceptions, two by rookie Casey Hayward, and the Packers put together an admirable performance after blowing an 18-point lead in their last outing.

Injury Report

The Packers were banged up coming into the contest and left the game even more battered and bruised.

Outside linebacker Nick Perry was the first Packers player to go down with a leg injury. The rookie outside linebacker hurt his left knee early in the game and was unable to return.

Inside linebacker D.J. Smith also hurt his knee when he was blindsided by Texans’ tackle Duane Brown after Arian Foster changed directions and came back towards Smith on a running play.

Brown appeared to lead with his helmet and will likely receive a fine from the league office, but the damage to Smith appears to be worse than anything the league could hand out. Smith was carted off the field wearing a brace on his right leg.

Backup running back Brandon Saine also left the field on a cart. He injured his left knee covering a kickoff in the third quarter.

Sam Shields became the fourth player to go down when he injured his shin in the fourth quarter. After being kicked in the shin by teammate Mike Neal, Shields was helped off the field without being able to put any weight on his right leg. Along with Smith and Saine, Shields became the third player to be carted off to the locker room.

No Jennings, No Problem

Without their top wideout or running back, the Packers offense finally found its rhythm. Accounting for all of the team’s touchdowns, quarterback Aaron Rodgers led the no huddle offense with confidence and composure as he finished with six touchdown passes and no interceptions.  

In place of the injured Cedric Benson, second year back Alex Green looked more explosive than he has in his entire career as he carried the ball 22 times for 65 yards. Although his stats were less than impressive, Green’s presence and timely runs provided just enough for Rodgers to do his damage.

Receiver James Jones also shone on Sunday night. His three catches for 33 yards do not tell the complete story as two of his receptions went for touchdowns. Both scores required spectacular concentration and Jones now has 23 catches on the year with just under one-third of them, seven to be exact, accounting for touchdowns.

Up Next

The Packers finally put together a complete game to trounce the Texans. Next Sunday, the team travels to St. Louis to face the Rams. Despite a rough start to the year, the team is back to .500 and, perhaps more importantly, has captured the swagger that had escaped them for the season’s first five games.

 

Max Ginsberg is a regular contributor at CheeseheadTV, blogs at PurplePantsGreenJersey.com and can be reached via Twitter @MaxGinsberg or at maxginsberg[at]yahoo.com.

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (22) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

T's picture

After the cheap shot injury to Brian Cushings last week, I can't wait to see what he (Cushings) has to say to the press about what his team mate did to Smith. Hopefully Matthews chimes in as well.

bomdad's picture

On the 2nd half opening drive, I'd say the Texans committed more that just two penalties. They were only penalized twice. For some reason Watt removing Aaron Rodgers helmet was not a penalty. The same thing happened against the Colts. Dont tell me there isnt some agenda or preconception when a clean hit on Luck gets a penalty/fine, and Rodgers gets decapitated on consecutive weeks without even a penalty. It looked like Rodgers might have had to wear a backup helmet after that hit.
Same preconception/reputation is evident with Sam Shields. His coverage is too good to be legal at such a young age.

Evan's picture

The Shields PI was legit, in my opinion. Maybe a little ticky tacky, but Shields was beat and grabbed him, ever so slightly.

As for the Watt play, I also questioned the non-call. It wasn't a hit to the head, but pulling a QB down by the helmet and ripping it off would seem to be at least unnecessary roughness.

Clay's picture

Props bomdad for mentioning what the game commentators and seemingly no analysts were bright enough to notice...

Roughing the passer, and P.I. calls are out of control and may still cost someone a playoff game. Then people will take notice.

I think the replacement refs stunk, but were only part of a larger problem in NFL officiating.

I have no idea at this point what the rules are regarding hitting the QB. To my knowledge a player cannot in anyway hit the QB in the head, much less his face. Let's remember the irony here...Rodgers nearly had his eye removed a few weeks ago against N.O.

If you watch the Watts sack from last night...the FIRST thing he did was hit Rodgers in the facemask with his left hand. The entirety of the sack that followed was predicated on him having hit Rodgers in the face, and then wrapping him up around the neck, thereby removing his helmet.

Collinsworth and what's his name didn't even notice?????????????

This part of the NFL is really getting to me and making it not fun to watch. I am too jaded and post-traumatic from the Seattle game.

In the old NFL I understand that Watts hit was fine. BUT BUT BUT against Seattle on the last drive, if Walden is going to get called for grabbing Wilson's frickin feet (thereby negating McMillan's game winning pick)...SURELY that Watts hit was a penalty&^%$#**

Let's not forget the playoffs against the Cardinals either..when Rodgers head was also hit on the last play.

I just want consistency.

Thanks for reading and letting me vent!

p.s. Yea Shields has room for improvement, but wow these calls on him are insane.

madcaplaughs's picture

I am right there with you. I watched the NFL for 35 years (with an extra 5 if you throw in the years games were on that I didn't really pay much attention to) but I have not watched a single snap for three weeks now.

I have had the Sunday Ticket for four years (and for the last year obviously)and I have seen way too much subjectivity effecting games. It's the speed of the game and the technicality driven rule book the old men have to try and implement. There is just so little consistency and too many games are determined by a rule being called one way in one game, and an even worse example slides right on by in another. Of course, a fine comes down the pike a few days later for the play that didn't impact the actual game at all.

This isn't just a onesy, twosy thing, it's EVERY WEEK. It has reached the point where I have very little confidence that the teams that deserve a playoff spot actually get a playoff spot. There's probably four teams in the playoffs the last 6-7 years that got there due to radically uneven application of the rule book. It is made even worse when there is every appearance that the application of the rule book changes once the playoffs come around. This just isn't basement/tin foil hat nobodies, but some real pundits who have called out the fact that there are different rules for the playoffs, at least in terms of application.

So we have an exceedingly technical set of rules that are unevenly (if not biasedly)applied that distorts the regular season, and then the rules are more broadly applied during the post-season. And it just isn't fun to watch in the least. A ticky-tack, powder puff sport (at least as far as the offense is concerned), subjectivity to beat the band, and then an slight about face once the post-season arrives. Meh.

Put into another perspective, one that encompasses all the changes the NFL has put into place (rules/application, free agency, salary cap, 8 4-team divisions), is that the NFL - for 8 decades - produced a deserving champion based on regular season performance that logically dovetailed into post-season performance. In the last decade, though, there has been a consistent display of mediocre to sub-mediocre performance rewarded with a championship or a near championship. I don't mind if the best teams don't stay great for a decade like they used to, but that at least in a particular season a deserving team wins it. Now we've got decidedly mediocre teams WITHIN a season consistently vying for the championship. In other words, we've got a near meaningless regular season and a post-season that is decided by whichever mediocre team gets the hottest (which now means the team that wins the turnover margin in the playoffs).

People may have been putoff by a lack of mystery in an NFL season a few decades back, but at least the champion was a deserving champion. Now there may be more mystery, but it's a mystery as to which shinniest t**d on the pile is going to "champion". And when one looks at a modern season in its entirity, so much of the outcome seems to be in the hands of the refs to maintain this airy-fairy NFL, and have an extremely uneven ability to do it.

The days of the Packers dominating the 60's, and the Steelers dominating the 70's, and the 49ers dominating the 80's are long, long gone. It should be kept in mind while those dynasties existed, there were other "titanic" teams hung around as well, and the championships were divided amongst them. Now it's just whatever team's bureaucracy can navigate the system best during the regular season to get one of the "golden tickets" to the post-season and who can win the turnover margin once there. Whichever 16th/17th/18th/19th best point margin team can pull it together for a 3-4 game run in terms of giveaways is your champion. I really just don't care anymore.

DrewTheDraftGuru's picture

I believe they were considering Rodgers a runner when Watt hit him, and if that's the case there was nothing illegal about the hit.

I feel bad for Shield this year as he is either getting BS calls or ticky tack fouls. At least he's playing well, which his future depends on because Hayward is a future #1 CB and House is a good player, too.

CSS's picture

I think Rodgers was in-between the tackles and behind the line of scrimmage, he isn't a runner at that point.

That being said, it was a good no call. Watt didn't use any part of the helmet to bring the QB down and the removal appeared to be incidental.

bomdad's picture

If its Tom Brady, theres a rule about it tomorrow.
I think if you asked an NFL referee, they would say the call was missed. Incidental facemask is still 5 yards and a first down.

Evan's picture

Is it a facemask if a defender has his whole arm wrapped around the helmet and pulls it off without ever grabbing the facemask?

CSS's picture

I'm all for protecting QB's (especially Rodgers) but the QB, Rodgers in this case, is the one that changed levels in an attempt to avoid the pressure. Watt grasped for the shoulder pads, ended up cradling the back of the helmet and it came off.

Again, I'm flag happy when it comes to protecting Rodgers, but he's the one that changed levels to make it look worse than it actually was. Just my opinion, but it's a good no-call. Different story if he grabs the facemask.

PackersRS's picture

The Packers have been flat out robbed of 2 wins this season, but it's hard to complain about PI calls with Woodson on the team.

2 share owner's picture

agreed

Tundraboy's picture

Good to see Green and Hayward play so well. Boykins is back to play slot with Cobb. If his hands areas good as in the preseason, it will help to let Jennings take his time. All good except the injuries AAARGH

GreenBaySavant's picture

Holy Cow, A.J. Hawk's sack celebration.

Evan's picture

Also, any word on Rodger's apparent calf/lower leg injury? It appeared minor, but it still seemed to be bothering him a bit toward the end of the game.

cheesy4's picture

The packers played a fantastic game last night.Heyward looked like a confidant DB,looks like Bush will remain on special teams.
Did Donald Driver even get in the game last night? I feel bad for the old veteran but it is a business.He probably should retire and give someone else his spot

Ruppert's picture

I am celebrating a fantastic win, with quality performances in all three phases. This team now knows what it can accomplish. Let's see if they can keep it up.

I think we all should be celebrating this excellent victory.

Yet still many (although not all) continue to dwell on the officiating. That's curious. I can't help but wonder if many converted Vikings fans are the culprits. Thanks for coming over from the dark side. But the refs shouldn't be much of a topic after last night, and we've all spent too much time this season worrying about the idiotic stripe-shirts. Let's drop it. K?

Thx.

Bomdad's picture

Converted Vikings FU. Last you'll hear from me on this topic
Or any other

packsmack25's picture

Ruppert, the only reason I focused on the officiatng was to show that although the record previously said 2-3, this was not a 2-3 ball club. People were losing their mind and insisting that Rodgers and McCarthy were toast, and that the Packers window had closed. It was nonsense.

djbonney138's picture

Why didn't the Texans player get ejected for punching (Wilson?) in the face three times? I thought thrown punches were automatic ejections? They called the unsportsmanlike conduct so I know they saw it.

2 share owner's picture

Raji got away with one earlier in the year as well. It's a tough one for the official to call, especially if its done in the scrum in the heat of it, and yes you are supposed to be ejected, which in a lot of cases is far to harsh a punishment for some of those love slaps on the side of the helmet. imho

Lou's picture

As good an overall win as one could ask for. Green was serviceable in his first start and held onto the ball but Benson would have had a field day based on the passing game success. Heyward looks like the second coming of Mike McKenzie, a rookie corner with quickness and ball skills. The run defense was superb with Pickett in the middle and the receivers were outstanding.

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