Last week the Green Bay pass defense was shredded. This week Green Bay did the shredding. Aaron Rodgers threw for a career high six touchdowns, tying the franchise record, in the 42-17 demolition of previously undefeated Houston Sunday night.
The Packers that showed up in Houston Sunday night are the Packers NFL fans expected to see earlier this season. They got a little help from Houston as the Texans committed penalties on 4th downs during the Packers first drives of each half.
Green Bay was stopped on their first offensive drive. But an offsides penalty on the punt gave Green Bay a first down. The very next play Rodgers hit Jordy Nelson for a 41-yard touchdown.
After exchanging punts The Packers put together a 6 play 56 yard drive that took just 2:22. Capped by a Rodgers to James Jones 6 yard laser for a 14-0 lead.
Houston had just 30 yards in the first quarter. They nearly doubled that with their first drive in the 2nd quarter, driving 54 yards with an Arian Foster 1-yard touchdown score to finish it off.
Green Bay answered right back, driving to the Texan 49 from their own 22. A 28-yard pass interference call against Houston followed by a 21-yard strike to Nelson stretched the lead back to 14, 21-7.
Shayne Graham added a 51-yard field goal for a half time score of 21-10.
It was a first half reminiscent of last year in many ways. Green Bay on the short end of time of possession but on the plus end of yards and score. The game would end with that same theme.
Although it looked like it might not. Green Bay received the second half kickoff and promptly drove to the Houston 11. From there they were flagged for holding and didn't gain another yard. Mason Crosby made the 39 yard field goal but Houston, like on the first Packer drive of the game committed a 4th down penalty, this time for leaping, giving Green Bay a first down.
Houston held tough on a subsequent 3rd-and-14, but Daniel Manning was flagged for unnecessary roughness, and should have been ejected, delivering three punches to a down Packers lineman. Two plays later Rodgers connected with Nelson for the third time and the game was all but over with a 28-10 score.
The Packer offense was clicking on all cylinders. The defense, without nose tackle B.J. Raji, held Houston to just 197 total yards through three quarters. The Texans finished with 321 yards, picking up 124 in garbage time with the score 42-17. An offense averaging 143 rushing yards a game had only 62 this night. It was as if Green Bay knew when they were going to run and stuffed it.
When Aaron Rodgers gets sacked a lot the offensive line gets the blame. When he doesn't they get some credit. But the reality is that Rodgers himself makes all the difference.
Rodgers was only sacked one time in each half. Not because the offensive line did any better than normal, but because Rodgers got the ball out of his hands. He did not focus on the rush, but instead on his reads. The result was a Green Bay Packer blow out.
In past games I counted off three, four, or more seconds when Rodgers dropped back to pass. Not in this game. Three seconds was the maximum amount of time he held the ball the vast majority of the time. It is a lot easier to block for three seconds than for four or more.
That is the way this offense is built to run. Recognize the coverage, get the ball out. It is not designed to hold the ball. The effects of running the offense that way were evident in the first half of this game and the last game, when Green Bay put up 21 points in each of those halves. It continued into the second half Sunday night.
Rodgers completed the night 24-of-37 for 328 yards, 6 TD, 0 INT, and a 133.8 passer rating.
Jordy Nelson had game highs of 9 grabs, 121 yards, and three touchdowns. Randall Cobb added another 102 yards on 7 catches.
Another franchise record was tied when James Jones made a spectacular one handed touchdown grab on Rodger's sixth of the night. It was Jones second of the game and marked the third straight game Jones had two touchdowns, tying the great Don Hutson, the best Packer of all time, for consecutive games with 2 or more receiving touchdowns.
Alex Green carried the Packers rushing load over James Starks. Green had 22 carries for 65 yards.
Despite double coverage most of the night, Andre Johnson managed to catch eight of his 12 targets for 75 yards.
NFL leading rusher Arian Foster had a meager 29 yards on 17 carries, but did bust across two one yard touchdown runs.
Matt Schaub was sacked three times but was under pressure a ton, mostly by Clay Matthews who was absolutely destroying left tackle Duance Brown and the rest of the Houston line. Matthews had none of the three sacks but he was in Schaub's grill all night.
Schaub completed 20-of-33 for 232 yards, 0 TD, 2 INT, and a 56.6 passer rating.
While Houston lost the goose egg in their loss column they are still the only NFL team to not have allowed a rushing touchdown this season.
Green Bay dropped the best team in football by playing like the best team in football. Houston is now 5-1 and Green Bay 3-3.