HOUSTON—The resurrection of the Packers offense brought the team’s season back to life with a 42-24 win over the previously undefeated Houston Texans on Sunday night.
“Aaron Rodgers was spectacular,” Head Coach Mike McCarthy said of his quarterback, who tied a team record with six touchdown passes. “We went exclusively no huddle from the start of the game. We wanted to press their defense. Aaron kept us in clean looks.”
Rodgers applied the heat early to the Texans by pitching touchdown passes of 41 yards to Jordy Nelson and six yards to James Jones. The Texans cut that lead to 14-7 but Rodgers and the offense responded immediately with a 78-yard drive and another touchdown pass to Nelson. The Packers took a 21-10 lead into halftime.
McCarthy’s halftime message?
“Continue and finish,” he said.
The Packers pushed the lead to 28-10 with a time-consuming drive to start the third quarter, and then canceled a Texans touchdown with a pass to tight end Tom Crabtree that broke loose for a 48-yard, catch-and-run touchdown.
When Sam Shields and Casey Hayward intercepted passes in the fourth quarter, Hayward having intercepted two passes, the Texans were left to wave a while flag of surrender and literally run the clock out on themselves with a rare defeat-formation series in the final minute of the game.
A big win coming off a tough week? The Packers were coming off a loss in Indianapolis, after holding a 21-3 lead at halftime in that game.
“We won a football game. A tough week is probably your viewpoint, not ours. Our goal is to go to St. Louis and win two games in a row. Stack success,” McCarthy said.
The win evens the Packers’ record at 3-3 and breathes hope back into a season the team’s fans feared was slipping away. Rodgers agreed.
“This was an important game for us. Two and four would’ve been very difficult, another road game next week. You can’t add up too many losses early in the season,” Rodgers said.
The negatives from the victory are what appear to be significant knee injuries linebacker D.J. Smith and running back Brandon Saine sustained. McCarthy termed them “potentially serious injuries.”
Green Bay’s play on defense, especially considering it was without nose tackle B.J. Raji, is one of the feel-good stories of the game. The Packers defense stuffed the NFL’s second-leading rusher, Arian Foster, who gained just 29 yards on 17 carries. Shields and Hayward’s interceptions brought the takeaway personality back to the Packers defense.
“Sound scheme by Dom Capers,” McCarthy said of the Packers defensive coordinator.
The plan appears to have been to stop Foster and force the Texans out of their run-the-ball personality and into a panic passing attack. It was a defensive plan that required Rodgers to apply the panic, which he did with a barrage of yards and points. Rodgers threw for 338 yards and a 133.8 passer rating, outpointing Texans quarterback Matt Schaub by nearly 80 rating points.
“Aaron was on fire,” McCarthy said.
It marked a return to the good old days of 2011, when the Packers moved the ball up and down the field, seemingly at will.
“What we did last year was put teams away. We talked about that this week. We played a more complete game,” Rodgers said.
A turning point in the season?
“I think so. I really do,” he said. “To win in their place is big. We have to keep this momentum going.”
Additional coverage - Oct. 14