What was seen as a great opportunity to get back on the right path, the Green Bay Packers traveled to Houston to face off against the Texans. With Aaron Rodgers absolutely abusing the HOU defense through the air, plus the defense holding strong against a volatile aerial attack, it was a good combo that led to a 35-20 Packers win.
Davante Adams set some new career-highs on offense, Jamaal Williams looked really good in the spot start without Aaron Jones in the lineup, and both Malik Taylor and Jace Sternberger both caught TDs on a healthy day for the Packers.
As lopsided as the game looked to be in the first quarter, there was only one score put up on the board by either team – the first of two TDs by Adams. He was able to cap off a 10 play, 75-yard drive that cooked up just under six minutes in the first quarter.
After this scoring drive, two three-and-outs by the Texans and one by Green Bay occurred that ended the first quarter. The HOU offense struggled to get its feet off the ground, as the GB defense was able to bottle up Deshaun Watson with a pass rush that returned from the dead, especially in the form of Za’Darius Smith.
Green Bay put up their next score in a drive that ended the first quarter and ended the second quarter, as Sternberger was able to celebrate National Tight End Day in style by hauling in a three-yard TD from Rodgers. With Robert Tonyan still nursing an injured ankle that he incurred last week against the Buccaneers, he was able to suit up this weekend but was not at 100 percent, paving the way for Sternberger to earn more reps in lieu of Tonyan.
After another Texans punt, Green Bay quickly punted after four plays, giving the ball back to Houston. JK Scott helped flip the field by pinning the Texans deep, getting the ball downed at the HST 2.
In turn, Houston flipped the field by stringing together its first good drive of the game that rolled into GB territory, but a missed 41-yard field goal by Ka’imi Fairbairn kept HOU scoreless.
On the heels of the missed FG, Rodgers helped lead GB down the field as the first half wound down, connecting with Taylor on his first career TD from one yard out to push the score to 21-0.
Houston ran one play to take it to half time, and they received the ball first out of the half.
Coming out of half, Watson helped put together the first scoring drive for Houston on the day, resulting in a three-yard TD catch by David Johnson out of the backfield. In response, Green Bay put together a TD drive on their first drive of the second half, as Adams hauled in a 45-yard pass from Rodgers on a 3rd & 4 pass and outran the Houston secondary for his second score of the day. Even with as porous as the HOU run defense had been coming into the game, Rodgers was able to expose it through the air, showcasing the strength of the GB offense early and often.
Both teams traded three-and-outs after the GB score, and the vast majority of the Texans’ next scoring drive came in the third quarter.
Houston completed its ongoing drive with a 38-yd FG – this ended up being a much longer field goal than it was looking to be due to Adrian Amos flying in on third down for a sack that pushed the Texans back 12 yards to the GB 20.
After a stalled drive by Green Bay resulted in a blocked punt that Houston recovered at the GB 32, the Texans put a field goal up on the board to bring the game to 28-13, starting the worry train up a bit as Green Bay had seemed to have stalled out on offense.
Another three-and-out drive that saw GB punt gave Houston a little momentum, which was quickly dispersed when they failed on a failed 4th & 1 conversion from just across the 50-yard line on the Houston side. Watson tried to take a speed option from under center to his left, but was quickly snuffed out by Preston Smith and shut down for a one-yard loss on the play.
The final scoring drive for each team happened back to back, starting with a one-yard TD plunge by Williams to cap off a seven-play drive that helped eat up almost 3 and a half minutes. On the day, Williams handled 19 carries for 77 yards and the one TD run, and hauled in the second-most targets on the day, catching four balls for 37 yards on five targets.
After Houston took the kick after the score, they went down the field and scored on a 75-yard drive that only took a few seconds over two minutes, as Watson connected with Will Fuller V from six yards out. Fuller only caught three balls for 35 yards and the one score (on six targets) in a very low day for him as he was shut down by Jaire Alexander all game.
Houston went for – and recovered – the ensuing onside kick that was poorly handled by Green Bay, and with Houston trying to get back into the game with time against them, turned the ball over after just one play after the recovery.
Connecting on a pass to Johnson from Watson, recently-elevated safety Henry Black forced a fumble on the run after the catch, which was recovered by Amos, essentially shutting down any idea of a comeback.
Rodgers was on top of his game yet again in this game, as he went 23/34 for 283 yards and 4 TDs. Adams hauled in 13 balls for a career-high 196 yards and 2 TDs, and outside of the blocked punt, there were no big blunders during this game, so a clean win on the road was exactly what the team needed.
Next week boasts a divisional matchup, as Minnesota travels to Lambeau Field for a noon matchup that will definitely help show exactly where both teams are at at this point in the year, and with a depleted Vikings team that is coming off of a bye, it will be a helpful game for Matt LaFleur and company.뿓뿓뿓
Mike Johrendt has been an avid fan of the Packers ever since he can remember. He is now a writer at PackersTalk and you can follow him on Twitter at @MJohrendt23