Packers Answer Several Questions in Win Over Texans

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Jordy Nelson
Packers WR Jordy Nelson caught three TDs against the Texans on Sunday nigh.

The Packers were 2-3 entering Sunday’s game with the Texans and all of Wisconsin was befuddled.

“I thought this was supposed to be a cakewalk to the playoffs,” Packers fans said. “What the heck is wrong with my Packers?”

Week-to-week overreaction is common in the NFL. After a loss you think you’re team is worthless. They’re finished. Done. No good. Time to start preparing for the draft.

After a big win, there’s hope. You’re team is back on track. They finally played with some pride. Mistakes were corrected. Players stepped up. The machine got rolling again.

Truth is, it’s hard to judge teams on a week-to-week basis this early in the season, especially this season. I swear every team is 3-3 like the Packers now are. With the exception of the Falcons (maybe), no team really seems ready to step up and say, “Hey, we’re going to dominate the leage. Good luck trying to slow us down.”

For us Packers fans, our hopes should not have been dashed after losing to Indianapolis last week. And while we’re all wound up about beating the Texans on Sunday night, we shouldn’t be overly excited and think everything is roses back at 1265 Lombardi Ave., either.

The Packers entered Sunday night’s game against Houston with several questions lingering over them. For one night at least, they answered those questions.

Emphatically.

Will they continue answering these questions with a resounding YES as the season progresses? We shall see.

For now, let’s see what those questions were and further examine how the Packers answered them on Sunday.

Q: Can the Packers play with emotion and attitude?
A: Yes.
There hasn’t been a sense of urgency with the Packers all season. It seemed like the team almost adopted the mindset of its fans: Let’s just get this regular season out of the way so we can start the playoffs. After playing some tough defenses and choking away a game in Indianapoils, the playoffs suddenly became less than a sure thing. It’s unfortunate that it took all this adversity to get the Packers to show a little grit, but they showed it Sunday night, and the results were impressive.

Q: Can they overcome injuries to key players?
A: Yes.
The entire defensive line stepped up to replace B.J. Raji. All of the WRs stepped up (finally) to replace Greg Jennings. Alex Green filled in admirably for Cedric Benson. Losing Nick Perry, D.J. Smith and Sam Shields during the game didn’t cause the defense to collapse. It’s frustrating that this type of determination and effort wasn’t on display during the second half in Indianapolis, but it was there all night on Sunday.

Q: Can the WRs make plays without Greg Jennings?
A: Yes.
Honorable mention goes to the offensive line, but the WRs had probably been the most frustrating aspect of the Packers seaon heading into Sunday. Where were the big plays? Why couldn’t anybody get open? What happend to getting big yards after the catch? Why can’t you catch the damn ball?! James Jones, Randall Cobb and Jordy Nelson all went off against Houston, and it was scary good. My word, was it impressive. This unit still needs to clean up the drops, but Sunday was a major step in the right direction.

Q: Can they still run the ball without Cedric Benson?
A: Yes.
I’ve always been lukewarm on Benson. Don’t get me wrong, he was fine for the Packers, but he wasn’t a game-changer. Not even close. There’s no reason Alex Green can’t give what Benson gave, and also provide much more explosion and big-play ability as a bonus. Pass protection was a question for Green, but he looked fine on Sunday. I’m looking forward to seeing Green evolve with this offense. If they incorporate him in to the passing game with screens and check downs, I have high hopes for this kid from Hawaii.

Q: What’s wrong with Aaron Rodgers?
A: Not a damn thing. Shhhhh……

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Adam Czech is a freelance reporter and a Packers fan living in the Twin Cities. Follow Adam on Twitter. Read more of Adam\\\'s writing on the Packers here.

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  • Lucas

    The Falcons are building a fluff record right now. What is it, three wins at the very end of the game? They could easily be 3-3. Granted, they still won those games and have gained confidence because of it, but every team has the template for beating them. I have little confidence in Atlanta being a problem down the stretch.
    Green Bay, who can beat them? The only teams that have beaten them is themselves…and replacement officiating.

    • Chad Toporski

      People need to be careful about the Giants. They’ve been overshadowed by their opening week loss and first-half performances, but they are a powerful team that can win any game.

      • Turophile

        That is so very true, Chad. They can be both awful and unbeatable across a season, so its hard to slot them in as a champions or an also-ran.

        As you say at their heart they are a good team that can misfire. In the past few years I recall them beating us handily and us beating them too. I’d rather meet someone else in the playoffs.

      • FireMMNow

        I would say the Giants are the best team in the NFC. Not just because of the way they dominated the niners, but they can win any game. They can grind it out on the ground, they can play dominating defense with their front 4 when the weather gets nasty and Eli can sling it around in a shoot out. They are a little like the packers in that you are never sure exactly which team will show up, but they have a lot going for them.

  • Bearmeat

    Fitz man were you right! That game was AWESOME to be at. “GO PACK GO!” Chants all night long. The Texans fans were beyond annoyed.

    Where has this team been all year?

  • NYPACKER

    Green was OK, but missed a couple of lanes that had some potential for big gains. Hope he gets better with more work. Starks looks trimmer to me…or is it just that we haven’t seen him in so long?

  • poo-beer

    finley blows

    • Nostradomus

      SHHHHHHHH.

      Finley played decoy. He’s got a dislocated bone (I think?) in his shoulder. If his family (from Houston) wasn’t in the stands, I don’t think he could’ve talked MM into the gameplan and AR to throw to him. Just what I saw, and heard from a friend.

  • frozentundra91

    McCarthy called a good game. Green got plenty of chances and he seemed to make the most of them. Benson is still very good but man can Green push the pile. Very strong runner.

    • FireMMNow

      i disagree that he is a push the pile type runner. that was benson’s forte, but green looked pretty good. he will get better once he starts running with a little more patience. But i thought MM used him well. the zone stretch takes time to get comfortable running. they let green run the inside zone which does not require quite as much patience.

      • Ed

        I will quibble a little on Benson not being a ‘game changer’ for the Packers. To me Benson changed the game in 2 ways — #1 he he was a living example to Green, Startks, etc. of how the position ought to be played. #2 Benosn finally got the team to really buy into in consistently calling run plays.

        Its no accident that the Pack got into trouble in Indy be reverting to a pass first, pass always mentality after Benson got hurt. (Not the only reason, but definitely a contributor).

        It’s no accident that a consistently applied running game slowed down the Texan’s pass rush last night even though Green wound up averaging less that 3 ypc.

        Hope the Packers keep this up; if they do they should terrify every defense left on the schedule.

        • Mike

          Definitely agree on this! Packers need to establish something in the ground game to be ultimately successful. McCarthy needs to simply stick to this gameplan in order for Green Bay to have a shot of returning to the Super Bowl!

  • Nostradomus

    Anybody got a replay of the Texans OL Brown that took out DJ? Sure looked like a punk thing to do,(when I first saw it) but can’t find a replay.

    • cdk4205

      I watched it a couple times – helmet to helmet shot / blindsided after the play was over (and ten yards away from them).

      Definitely a cheap shot, but problem was it happened just as Smith had stepped and since he was blindsided there was no way for him to brace for it so head and knee took the force of the blow.

      • Nostradomus

        Thanks! That’s pretty much what I remember too, but still would like to find a replay online, as an owner I’d send it too the league office. ;)

        • Nostradomus

          Wish I could edit my posts. Toooo many typo’s in that one.

          • http://allgbp.com Jersey Al

            you can – you just need to register a username and login when you post. then you’ll have “edit” capabilities.

  • Turophile

    To answer “Q: Can the Packers play with emotion and attitude?”

    This year, I don’t think the Packers come in to a game feeling ‘entitled’. I think more of how they look to us fans is about the game plan we are trying to execute. If its a good game plan we look good and vice-versa.

    Teams CAN lift themselves due to emotion, but the more teams do that, the more Jeckell and Hyde they become. I never liked the Jim Harbaugh “Never saw a decision I couldn’t get upset over” attitude, as I don’t think it works well beyond a season or so.

    Look at how the Colts did a week after beating us. Mind you, we can be flaky too, losing to the Colts and then beating the Texans, but I dont see that being due to lack of emotion, MM runs a very even-keel ship, the anti-Harbaugh.

  • FireMMNow

    I would say that MM and DC outcoached the texans, but I just thought that the texans called poor games offensively and defensively. putting the safety in the box was dumb. playing press man on our WRs is dumb. not sticking with the run game on the first couple drives was a mistake. do not get me wrong, the packers coaches did well, but it was like wade phillips did not watch any film this year on the packers offense.

    • Ed

      Not so much that Phillips didn’t watch film as that he probably thought the Texans D should show they were stronger/better/faster than the Packers O. They weren’t and we made them pay. I’ll bet Phillips will run bunches of cover-2 if these two teams meet in the Super bowl.

  • FireMMNow

    and oh yeah, cow42 and taryn, do you still think rodgers is an average QB? just busting your chops.

    • Tarynfor12

      Never said he “IS” average..merely appeared to be playing it and many,many agreed.

      Now,my view on Perry..he ‘IS’ average but,I hope to be wrong so many,many can be happy.

    • Tarynfor12

      You shouldn’t lump me in with Cow42…I don’t disappear…I take my lumps when deserved….welcomely!

  • Dan

    Great game and great win, but, I don’t think packer fans should be “shhhhhhhhhed”. Face it Packers…you had some stinky moments in some of these games, just down right bad football moments . The game planning was bad during some of these moments, but, to me, it was a lack of physical play, and possibly talent, in the trenches. The Packers were being dominated up front most of the time.

    So, if we packer fans react to what we are witnessing, so be it. The O line and D front seven played 4 qrts of physical, pissed off football last night. This is what it takes to win in the NFL. You can’t pick and chose when to play with the emotion of Lombardi’s Packers, you have to play like this every game! Now please keep up this intensity so we can make some noise in the playoffs!

  • Bubbaloo

    Adam, you left out one really big question;
    Q.”Should Finley be brought back next year for $10M”?
    A. “NO”!

    • Bubbaloo

      Actually I might be wrong on the number, but say $6M or $7M,(I think the contract was back-loaded), but either way the gut is a liability.

      • Chad Toporski

        I think it’s at least $8 mil.