Upon Further Review: Packers bounce back with complete win over Texans

The Houston Texans caught the Green Bay Packers on the wrong Sunday.

One week after getting blown out on national television by Tampa Bay, the Packers took out their frustrations on a Houston team (1-6) searching for its second win.

Green Bay (5-1) burst out to a 21-0 lead at halftime thanks to three touchdown passes from Aaron Rodgers. Although Houston’s offense operated better in the second half, the Packers made enough plays in the final 30 minutes to maintain a comfortable advantage and won 35-20.

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Rodgers had another virtuoso performance. The offensive line, without starting left tackle David Bakhtiari, gave him time to throw and did not surrender a sack. Davante Adams looked like the elite player he is. The defense was all over the place in the first half and Green Bay’s offense committed zero turnovers.

The victory checked basically every box for a blowout win and the long flight back to Wisconsin must have been much better than the one from the week before. The Packers played clean football, executed well in important moments and controlled the game from start to finish.

Aaron Jones may have been out with an injury but the running game held its weight. Jamaal Williams stepped up with 19 carries for 77 yards and a touchdown and also caught four balls for 37 yards. While Williams has made plenty of plays in the past for the Packers, less-experienced youngsters like wide receiver Malik Taylor and tight end Jace Sternberger each caught their first career touchdown pass in the second quarter to help the Packers build their lead.

Green Bay’s defense sacked Houston’s quarterback Deshaun Watson three times and mostly kept him in check. He ended the day with 38 rushing yards and 309 passing yards and two scores, but a lot of that came in garbage time when the game was pretty much decided.

In a tight NFC race with the Chicago Bears and Seattle Seahawks both at 5-1, the Packers should never take any win for granted even if it comes against a lesser opponent. With 10 regular-season games left to go, the Packers are in as good position as anyone else to make a run at the conference’s top seed.

 

PLAYER OF THE GAME

Rodgers was excellent against the Texans. He shredded Houston’s defense — especially in the first half when he threw for three scores. He finished with 283 passing yards and four touchdowns on a 67.6% completion percentage. It was Rodgers’ third game this season with four touchdown passes and zero interceptions. Rodgers’ connection with Adams in the first quarter got the Packers out to an early lead and foreshadowed a great outing from No. 12.

 

DON’T FORGET ABOUT ME
After missing two games with an injury, Adams made up for lost time on Sunday. The former Fresno State Bulldog barbecued the Texans’ defense to the tune of 13 catches for a career-high 196 yards and two scores. He beat his defender off the line in the third quarter to grab his second touchdown pass of the game.

The Packers have shown they can win without Adams, but when he and Rodgers are clicking the Packers are almost unstoppable. Adams now has 36 catches for 449 yards and four touchdowns in 2020 and has entrenched himself as one of the top receivers in the NFL.

 

THIS MOMENT

Green Bay controlled this outing for just about all of the game so there was not really one specific turning point that completely shifted everything. That said, with 7:04 left in the fourth quarter and down 15, Houston faced a fourth-and-1 from its own 47-yard line. The Texans decided to run the quarterback option but Preston Smith sniffed it out quickly and smothered Watson in the backfield.

If Houston had converted, it would have had the ball down by two possessions with a decent chunk of game left to play. Instead, Smith made a great play and essentially sealed the win for Green Bay.

 

THAT NUMBER

3.59 — Green Bay limited the Texans to 3.59 yards per rush, a stark improvement to the 4.5 yards per rush it allowed last Sunday to the Buccaneers. Houston did not score on the ground and rushed 22 times for 79 yards. Running backs David Johnson and Duke Johnson had 15 carries for a combined 41 yards. Unsurprisingly, the Packers dominated the line of scrimmage and had seven tackles for loss.

 

THEY SAID IT

“It’s just encouraging to see that you can put a little something on those guys’ plates and they come through for you when you need them,” — Packers head coach Matt LaFleur said about lesser-known players contributing.

“I’m bringing it up time and time again because I just think he deserves so much credit.” — Rodgers on Williams.

“We feel like we owed it to ourselves, just how we played last week.” — Adams said about Green Bay’s motivation.

 

UP NEXT

The Packers return to Lambeau Field for a Week 8 matchup against the 1-5 Minnesota Vikings. Minnesota had a bye during Week 7 so it should be well-rested heading into this divisional bout. Green Bay defeated the Vikings 43-34 on the road in Week 1.