HOUSTON – The Packers stopped the run, harassed the quarterback and got some turnovers.
No team had really done that all season to the Texans, and a complete defensive performance like that was a big part of the Packers’ 42-24 win on Sunday night.
Arian Foster was the league’s second-leading rusher, but the Packers held him to just 29 yards on 17 carries, or a measly 1.7 per rush. The Texans had allowed just three sacks through five games, best in the league, and the Packers doubled that total. Ditto for the turnovers, with the Texans throwing three interceptions.
“I think it spoke for itself,”
Matthews set the tone early, getting into the backfield to cut down Foster on some early runs.
That’s when the interceptions came, with
“That was one missing part of our formula for success,” Head Coach Mike McCarthy said of the turnovers. The Packers got more than one in a game for just the second time this season.
The combination of stifling Foster early while the Packers’ offense was scoring points effectively took Houston out of its game plan. The Texans managed drives of 80 and 65 yards for TDs, but both came with the Packers up three scores.
“It’s what we can do,” Matthews said of controlling a game on both sides of the ball. “That’s what’s disappointing about a few of our losses this year. It’s not the way in which we lost, but the fact that we even put ourselves in that position.”
Banged up: The only downside to the defensive effort was the injuries the unit sustained. After the game, a knee injury to inside linebacker
The other “significant” injury was to backup running back and special teamer
Making the move: It’s not the first time an opponent has mocked
“I said, ‘Hey, you’ve got your own move. Why are you messing with mine?’” Rodgers said. “I know he does the salute.”
Watt did that, too. Rodgers tried to get his revenge with a demonstrative “belt” – also known as the “discount double-check” from his State Farm Insurance commercials – when he scrambled for a touchdown in the third quarter, but it was all for naught because the run was called back on a holding penalty.
“I made myself look kind of silly,” admitted Rodgers, who drew laughter from the media contingent at his postgame press conference.
Sticking with it: Running back
But Green’s work on the ground was important. Rodgers commented on how valuable it was for the Packers to run the ball, even if it wasn’t all that successful, to keep Houston’s defensive front honest. Watt’s two sacks were the Texans’ only sacks on Rodgers’ 41 dropbacks. McCarthy credited Rodgers for keeping the offense in “clean plays” at the line of scrimmage with the run calls.
Green was most productive in the first half, before the game got out of hand and the Texans stacked the box to stop him while the Packers were trying to run the clock. He carried nine times for 36 yards in the first two quarters, a solid 4.0 average, including an 8-yard run that started a seven-play, 78-yard TD drive, the Packers’ longest scoring drive of the first half.
“It was a good step in the right direction for our run game,” McCarthy said.
Additional coverage - Oct. 14