The Green Bay Packers could still taste the sting from last week, a humiliating defeat in Tamp as they lined up for their first offensive snap in NRG Stadium. The week of practice between games brought more adversity. Their all-pro left tackle, David Bakhtiari did not recover from a second half injury in Tampa and was ruled out. Their star running back and offensive juggernaut, Aaron Jones, was ruled out late in the week with a leg injury. On defense, three starters including two starters in the secondary, did not suit up for the game. The injury report had more names on it than the practice squad for most of the week. If you weren’t worried as a Packer fan, you weren’t paying attention.
Aaron Rogers simply disregarded the injury report, focusing on the game plan and the players in his huddle. When the offense seemed on the brink of failure, he threw clutch, accurate passes and kept drives alive. Rogers line of 23-34 and 283 yards may not be quite as impressive as Badger QB Graham Mertz’s debut on Friday night, but his 4 TD’s, including the first TD pass for Malik Taylor and first this season for TE Jace Sternberger put the Packers up big early.
The Packers weathered another injury during the game. Krys Barnes, who has solidified the middle of the Packer defensive with solid play against the run and pass, left the game with a shoulder injury. When Ty Summer’s play was ineffective, Kamal Martin earned his first NFL snaps and he performed adequately. While Summers struggled, a number of Packers with Texas ties came up with big plays.
Rookie Vernon Scott (TCU) made a big play on 3rd down to stop a potential touchdown drive. Henry Black (Baylor) made the most of his opportunity laying a hard hit on Texan’s RB David Johnson to create the only turnover for the defense and finally put the game away after the Packers faltered late in the game. To put that in perspective, the one turnover created by the defense came from a player not even listed on the depth chart. Add in Sternberger’s one handed TD grab and the trio of former Texans made their Alma mater’s proud.
While Packer fans can celebrate the win, coaches will be busy cleaning up a number of errors on special teams that easily could have cost the team a victory. A blocked punt and a failed recovery on the Texan’s on side kick made many fans flash on the dreaded playoff collapse against Seattle. The blocked punt was a failure of RB Dexter Williams. Called up for the first time this year, he failed to do his job and cost the team the block. He was replaced for the next punt by Jamaal Williams. One has to wonder about his future on the team. The onside kick failure was one of both scheme and execution as the Packers left the middle exposed to cover each sideline.
The Packers defense should be applauded for three key defensive stands in the second half. The two stops that allowed only Texan field goals and final turnover were the difference in the game. Preston Smith had three tackles, none more important than his fourth down TFL of Deshaun Watson. Krys Barnes (8) and Kamal Martin (6) combined for 14 tackles and Josh Jackson quietly had his best game as a Packer. A 35-20 win is a solid victory for this team. Let’s hope Rogers and company can keep the momentum rolling over the Vikings next week.
This was supposed to go up on Monday, but as is tradition, I screwed up
I don’t think many spotted it, but Kamal Martin started the game alongside Barnes on the very first defensive snap. After the first snap Barnes went out of the game only to come back after Summers struggled in coverage. I think the first defensive snap is an indication of were the Packers are headed at ILB.
In other news Lazard and Kirksey are supposedly returning to practice this week
Good point Howard. I also think the future at ILB belongs to Martin and Barnes. They both seem to flow to the ball instinctively. Plus they seem to be better in coverage than the other backers. Dropping P Smith back into coverage doesn’t cut it. Summers is a decent tackler but i think he is also limited in coverage. I may be wrong on this but, I see another Hawk- Martinez – Biegel in Summers. They’ll only get better with experience. Hopefully they can stay healthy.
Summers is a decent tackler unfortunately hes too slow to catch anyone.
Signing Yannick Ngakoue…….
When giving up a league leading 17.3 YPG…..still isn’t good enough.
When upper management has a win now philosophy.
When getting into the playoffs…isn’t good enough
Name that team
Hint: It isn’t the Packers.
*PPG (drug abuse)
It’s not my fault!!….it’s a disease.