Packers vs. Texans: Houston's Biggest Winners and Losers
The Green Bay Packers played the Houston Texans on Sunday night in what was announced as the Texans' Breast Cancer Awareness game. This worthy cause was promoted by all manner of pink items on display throughout the stadium.
By the end of the evening, the fans of the formerly undefeated Texans wanted to reach for something pink themselves. A bottle of Pepto-Bismol might soothe the distress created by the upset of an embarrassing 42-24 loss to the Packers.
It would take an FBI investigation and an electron microscope to identify the winners in this massacre. In a game that threatens to redefine their season, the very definition of “winner” will have to be adjusted to fit the evidence in this case.
Winner: Anyone Who Said Special Teams Would Eventually Cost the Texans
The Texans ran their record to 5-0 by getting ahead, using a ball-control offense to win the time-of-possession battle and having their defense keep the opposing offense from getting any momentum.
The fact that virtually every game was marred by one or more gaffes by the kick-coverage team could be overlooked due to the efficiency of every other aspect of the team. Tonight changed all of that.
The first Green Bay touchdown was made possible when DeVier Posey was penalized for lining up offside on the Texans’ first punt attempt. Aaron Rodgers capitalized on the resulting first down with a 41-yard TD to Jordy Nelson.
But the night was still young. Already down 21-10 to start the second half, whatever reversal of fortune might be possible was nullified by another penalty committed by Connor Barwin.
In an utterly braindead effort to block a field goal, he climbed the back of another player. The drive kept rolling and ultimately led to another Jordy Nelson touchdown catch.
Subtract those two scores, and they might have been able to mount a comeback—even in a game where the defense looked totally flustered by last year’s NFL MVP.
Loser: Gary Kubiak and His Game-Opening Script
It is common knowledge most NFL offensive coordinators decide beforehand which 15-20 plays will be called to start the game. For the six games played in 2012, Gary Kubiak has chosen a pass as the first play for the Texans.
A sack for two yards to start the game set the tone for the rest of the night. The Packers knew what was coming and reacted accordingly. The next 14 plays netted a mere 49 yards, with four of the last six being running plays when they were already down 14-0.
On the road in Denver, the Texans began with a safety but did not let that miscue slow them down. After beginning this game with negative yardage, they just kept digging the hole deeper instead of adapting to the situation.
The message boards throughout Texans Nation are filled with threads accusing Kubiak of being too conservative, which is just another way of calling him stubborn. This loss was just the latest example.
Winner: Andre Johnson Surpasses 10,000 Receiving Yards
To reach this milestone in a blowout that recalls the earlier portion of his career is an unfortunate side note. For those of us who have watched him perform so magnificently under difficult circumstances, this is further proof of how unfair life can be.
Undoubtedly, he would rather we acknowledge his accomplishments. In addition to the yardage gained, he is second all time in receptions per game (5.7) and in receiving yards per game (78.3). Considering that, in his first four years, David Carr was throwing to him only magnifies his greatness.
Everyone would have felt better with a win tonight instead of an individual achievement. That would no doubt include the man himself, the greatest Texan of them all.
Loser: Offensive Line
The right side was a question mark going into training camp, but at least we had the left side to count on, right?
Duane Brown, who many count among the top left tackles in the league, should be grateful he does not have to face Clay Matthews very often. He was so tormented by The Claymaker that Brown might see him in his nightmares for weeks to come.
Chris Myers celebrated not having to face B.J. Raji by making Ryan Pickett look like an All-Pro. Antoine Caldwell went out with a concussion and did not return to the game. Ben Jones had his weekly penalty, but at least Derek Newton was not cited for any violations.
The Texans could not run the ball a lick against a defense ranked 17th against the rush. Arian Foster had 17 carries for 29 yards, and all of us carnivores must admit his meatless diet is not to blame.
I wonder, if they took up a collection outside of Reliant Stadium, could they get enough donations to bring back Mike Brisiel and Eric Winston by the trade deadline?
Winner: J.J. Watt
You can always count on The Milkman to make his delivery.
The Packers tried to keep Watt under control by running right at him. It seemed to work—up to a point.
All he recorded for the game were six tackles, two sacks, four tackles for loss and three QB hits. What, no tipped passes? It's clearly an off game when he does not knock down at least a couple.
May we never take for granted the consistency and persistence of the one player that cannot be shut down.
Loser: The Rest of the Texans Defense
Six touchdown passes. Now, let that sink in: SIX***TOUCHDOWN***PASSES!!!
And that’s only the beginning.
It was the worst tackling performance in any game since the day Wade Phillips was hired. Kareem Jackson was repeatedly victimized while his back was turned to the passer. The pass rush slowly but surely disappeared as the game went on. Johnathan Joseph, with his bum groin, was so obvious in the Jets game that Rodgers went right at him from the get-go.
The safety help that was supposed to be there was either late or preoccupied with the other deadly receivers on the Packers. The preseason game in New Orleans made it clear the Texans cannot handle any team with three or more decent pass-catchers. Period.
The Son of Bum was completely outcoached for the first time in his tenure with the team. The adjustments he usually comes up with at halftime were ineffective against Green Bay. When Tom Brady sees the video of this carnage, I can see him licking his chops at the possibilities.