Aaron Rodgers had one thing to say to all the critics after the Packers 42-24 win over the Texans and he said ”Shhhhhh…”
While Rodgers walked away from his postgame interview with a big grin on his face, the critics are silent, but only for a bit.
Those same people who were the critics, now are saying “The Packers are back!” Well lets not get ahead of ourselves just yet.
The Green Bay Packers may have once again saved their season after their dominating win against the previously undefeated Houston Texans. Does this mean the Packers from 2011 are back, no, not yet, but they could be soon. This is a flash in the pan of what the Packers are capable of doing and how they should play, but we have already seen it does not mean they will perform in such a manner.
Rodgers finally looked the part of the reigning NFL MVP as he tore up the Texans vaunted defense for 338 yards and a career high and franchise tying six touchdowns. Matt Flynn is the other Packers quarterback to have six touchdown, which was last season against the Detroit Lions in Week 17.
The most impressive part about Rodgers game was how effective he was against blitzes. Four of his six touchdown passes came when the Texans were rushing five or more. Rodgers also was the most effective he had been down-field this season, finally bringing the explosive big gains which had been missing from the offense.
It was nice to see Rodgers get the offense going and getting Jordy Nelson involved early in the game. A game in which Nelson ended with nine catches, 121 yards and three touchdowns. Getting Nelson involved early opened things up for fellow wide outs Randall Cobb, 107 yards, and James Jones, 33 yards and two touchdowns.
Another thing which was a great site was the play of running back Alex Green, who may not look productive in the stat sheet with 22 carries and 65 yards, but the key is he looked effective enough during the game to slow down the Texans pass rush. The running game allowed the Packers offensive line to also look capable of keeping Rodgers in one piece only giving up two sacks, both to the leading candidate for defensive player of the year, J.J. Watt.
While the offense finally looked the part of a Super Bowl contender, the defense did as well.
The most impressive part of the game has to be what the defense held Arian Foster to on the ground. Without B.J. Raji the Packers limited 29 yards rushing on 17 carries, even though he did have a pair of one yard touchdown runs. The Packers also held the Texans to 90 yards rushing as well, with 47 of those yards coming in garbage time at the end of the game.
With the Packers stuffing the running game they attacked Matt Schaub when he dropped back to pass sacking him three times, two in the first two drives helping force quick punts. Schaub was also hit another six times during the game, including three by Clay Matthews. The Packers also forced three interceptions, including two by rookie Casey Hayward, who looked solid in coverage once call upon with Sam Shields injury.
Speaking of Shields, he has to be one of the most unlucky Packers this season. He was the one who was called for pass interference in Seattle when Sidney Rice was the one who should have received the call. Shields was also the victim of Golden Tates shove on the Inaccurate Reception and lastly he was flagged last week for pass interference when he was playing perfect coverage again. It was nice to see him come up with the interception which sent the Texans and their fans to the exits. Granted Shields is not a shut down corner and makes mistakes in zone coverage at time, but the young undrafted player who has converted from wide receiver to corner has made plays and strides in his three seasons. The Packers have to hope the shin injury is not too serious, or that Devon House is nearing his return.
The thing is with all of the positives in this game, the Packers forced the Texans to help them out by frustrating them with their play, the Texans were rattled and it forced them into many penalties which were mental. Many of those mistakes helped the Packers continue drives and while the Texans helped them, the Packers still capitalized on the mistakes, but lets not get ahead of ourselves yet.
The Packers have shown they are capable of playing horrible, but are also capable of playing great. They need to find a way to become more consistent and battle back from injuries they are currently suffering to impact players. It will be interesting to see if they can repeat what they did in 2010.
About the Author
Written by Noah Hanstedt
Born and raised in the small town of Neenah, WI. Grew up watching Green Bay Packers football with my late father. Been writing about sports for 5 years now and hope to continue becoming a stronger writer and an even better man.