The result was still a close game – the final score of 28-26 made the game closer than it seemed; the Packers led by a decent margin the majority of the second half with the Texans scoring in the final 30 seconds to final difference just two points – albeit one that wasn’t always aesthetically pleasing.
Green Bay accounted for just 237 total net yards. Houston turned the ball over four times. The teams combined for 21 penalties totaling 202 yards. Welcome to the NFL, preseason version.
Here's a recap of Thursday night's game (Story | Photos):
Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports
PLAYER OF THE GAME
Green Bay’s final pick in this year’s NFL draft made an early impression. Linebacker Ty Summers got the start at inside linebacker and piled up 10 tackles (nine solo), nine of which came in the first half. The next-highest Packer was cornerback Kabion Ento, with six tackles, and five of those came in the second half when the fourth- and fifth-stringers were in. The former TCU Horned Frog was in on 66 (82%) defensive snaps as well as 13 (50%) of the special teams snaps – no offensive or defensive player had more snaps and only one player, linebacker Brady Sheldon, played more on special teams (he had 14).
DON'T FORGET ABOUT ME
It’s one half of a preseason game so we’re going to temper enthusiasm, but perhaps head coach Matt LaFleur will be a good thing for DeShone Kizer. Green Bay’s backup quarterback has been – and we’re being kind – not good in his first two NFL seasons, completing just 53.1% of his passes with 11 touchdowns and 24 interceptions. He threw 40 passes for the Packers last year and completed only 20 (47.6%) with no TDs and two picks. In his first action of 2019, Kizer completed 8 of 13 passes (61.5%) with a touchdown and no interceptions. Yes, it’s nothing to throw a party over, but in last year’s preseason in the three games in which Kizer attempted 10+ passes, his completion rates were 50.0% (9-18), 58.3% (7-12) and 47.8% (11-23). So perhaps it’s a step in the right direction.
Green Bay’s special teams have come under fire the past few seasons as being, well, not so special. Thus, it was nice to see the special teams account for the Packers’ first (unofficial) touchdown of the season. Equanimeous St. Brown jarred a muffed punt away from the Texans’ Keke Coutee and then pounced on it in the end zone for the TD. And it happened just 1:54 into the first quarter. Not a bad way to start a season (pre- or otherwise).
29 and 21 – Times the Packers ran the ball compared to pass attempts, 14 of those by Dexter Williams. Yes, five of those rushes were by quarterbacks, which evens things out a bit, but in an era of passing it was interesting to see Green Bay ran it more than passed. Of course, it could have to do with the quarterbacks, game situation, score, etc., but LaFleur has emphasized he thinks the run is important, so this might be something to keep an eye on the next few games, particularly when (if) Rodgers plays.
THEY SAID IT
“There was just a brief period of time when I looked up and you just see all the greats written all, in Lambeau. It's a pretty cool moment. It's something I'll never forget." – Matt LaFleur, on his first game at head coach
“I told the guys, ‘Whether it's regular season or preseason, it always feels much better to win than lose,' so I was happy about that. And more than anything else, I thought our guys gave great effort." -- LaFleur
“It’s fun when we’re out there and everything is clicking. We both came off the field and said the ball was coming off our hands well today. It felt good to be out there.” – quarterback Tim Boyle, who had two TD passes, on the play of he and Kizer.
"You only get one down on special teams so it's important to make a play and do your job." -- Equanimeous St. Brown
The Packers travel to Baltimore to play the Ravens on Thursday night. Baltimore beat Jacksonville 29-0 in its preseason opener. Quarterback Lamar Jackson played 16 snaps and completed 4 of 6 passes with a touchdown. Green Bay likely will see more of Trace McSorley and former Packer Joe Callahan behind center.