Packers bring Texans down to earth with a thud
It didn’t take very long Sunday night in front of a national television audience to realize the Houston Texans’ five-game winning streak was coming to a screeching halt.
It seemed as if missing one person in a vaunted defense that was rated among the best in the National Football League wouldn’t make that big a difference.
But the first game without defensive captain Brian Cushing had the Texans’ defense looking like it did before Wade Phillips was hired as its coordinator.
Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers found his receivers so open one would have to check to see if they were wearing quarantine signs around their necks.
The Texans were burned for six Rodgers’ touchdown passes—one short of the NFL record– in the 42-24 thrashing at a packed Reliant Stadium in downtown Houston. Ironically, Houston surrendered only six touchdown passes in their first five victories this season.
“We knew Rodgers was a great quarterback,” Texans head coach Gary Kubiak told the Houston Chronicle after the game. “He can light it up. He can put on a show. But we played poorly as a team, and got our tails kicked. And they did a heck of a job.”
The Chronicle pointed out that the Packers are one year removed from a 15-1 record, and they came to Houston determined to prove they were better than their 2-3 record indicated. “They left with a 3-3 record and their pride intact,” Monday’s Chronicle said. “And they took just about all the Texans’ dignity.”
The results of the game were a real blow to the Texans’ defense. The Packer game was the worst performance by Wade Phillips’ defense since last year’s 40-33 loss at New Orleans. But the Texans were just learning Phillips’ defense then. However, there can be no excuses for Sunday’s humiliating performance.
As bad as the defense played Sunday night, there was other blame to be spread around, too. Quarterback Matt Schaub threw only two interceptions and was sacked three times in the 5-0 start. He was intercepted twice by the Packers and sacked three times. Ironically, it had been exactly 52 weeks since the Texans lost a game started by Schaub, who saw his 9-0 run ended by Green Bay.
The special teams were guilty of three penalties, including two that kept alive Green Bay touchdown drives. They also allowed a 46-yard kickoff return which set up another touchdown.
There was a bright spot for the Texans in Sunday night’s game as Andre Johnson caught eight passes for 75 yards to give him 10,014 career receiving yards and making him the fifth player in NFL history to reach 10,000 yards in fewer than Johnson’s 128 games.
And premier defensive end J.J. Watt continued his great season by recording two sacks of quarterback Aaron Rodgers to boost his total to 9½ for the season, which now leads the NFL. The Packers’ Clay Matthews, who went into Sunday night’s game as the NFL sack leader, failed to record a sack and is close behind with eight.
Looking at the game from an optimistic point of view, it is only one loss in six games. Chances were very slim the Texans would have gone 16-0 for the season. The team must forget about the Packers and concentrate on hosting the tough Baltimore Ravens, who come into the game Sunday with an identical 5-1 record.
The Ravens weren’t very impressive in their last three victories before Sunday that included a one-point win over the New England Patriots, a 23-16 win over then winless Cleveland and a 9-6 win over the lowly Kansas City Chiefs.
On Sunday, they survived against Dallas 31-29, but let the Cowboys rush for 227 yards, the most they’ve allowed on the ground in franchise history. Kansas City gained 214 on the ground the week before. So perhaps the Texans will re-discover their vaunted rushing attack Sunday at Reliant Stadium.
KWICKIES…The St. Louis Cardinals, who wouldn’t even be in the 2012 National League playoffs if Major League Baseball hadn’t added a second wild card this year, is really taking advantage of the opportunity and as a result are going home to St. Louis today (Wed.) dead-locked at 1-1 in their best-of-seven series with the San Francisco Giants. After beating the Braves in a one-game wild card playoff last week, the Cards scored early and hung on for a 6-4 win Sunday night in Game 1 but lost 7-1 Monday night in Game 2 of the National League championship Series. The New York Yankees resumed play Tuesday night in Detroit after losing both games last weekend in Yankee Stadium to the Tigers 6-4 in 12 innings Saturday and 3-0 Sunday.
Orange’s Marathon Man Ken Ruane won a 10-mile race Sunday morning in the 70-year-and-older category at Clear Lake and was at Sunset Grove Country Club at noon ready to play in his regular Sunday golf game. The 10-mile win earned him a free entry into the upcoming Houston Marathon based on his first-place finish and running it under a specific time. What an Iron Man!!!
It was no surprise that the first BCS poll which came out Sunday had the Alabama Crimson Tide on top. The Florida Gators, another Southeastern Conference member was second, having a slight edge by the computerized rankings over Oregon and Kansas State. Notre Dame was not far behind in the No. 5 spot and LSU No. 6. Four Lone Star State teams also made the poll with Texas Tech No. 17, Texas A&M No. 18, TCU No. 23 and Texas No. 25.
And not to be confused with this week’s Associated Press Top 25 Collegiate Poll where Alabama and Oregon maintained their top two spots, followed by Florida, which moved up one place to No. 3, Kansas State and Notre Dame which hurdled two positions to No. 4 and No. 5, respectively. LSU jumped three places to No. 6, Ohio State went up one spot to No. 7, Oregon State moved from tenth to No. 8, South Carolina dropped from third to No. 9 and Oklahoma moved up three places to No. 10. Texas Tech joined the Top 25 Poll at No. 18, Texas A&M moved up two slots to No. 20 while the Texas Longhorns dropped out of the Top 25.
The top Class 3A team in the Houston area in this week’s Houston Chronicle High School Football Rankings is Navasota (7-1), followed by No. 2 La Marque (6-1). Coldspring (4-2) is No. 5 and Huffman (4-1) is No. 9. The only area team to make the rankings was Port Arthur Memorial (6-1) at No. 12 in Class 5A.
The Houston Texans may have made a mistake in getting rid of Jacoby Jones after the 2011 season. Jones, who now plays for the Baltimore Ravens, tied an NFL record Sunday by returning a kickoff 108 yards for a touchdown against the Dallas Cowboys which had to be instrumental in Baltimore’s 31-29 victory over the Pokes.
JUST BETWEEN US…Sunday was quite a day for both of Orange County’s National Football League’s players. Bridge City’s Matt Bryant was the hero the second time in three games for his Atlanta Falcons with a 55-yard field goal on the final play of the game to give the Falcons a 23-20 win over the Oakland Raiders and keep Atlanta as the only undefeated team in the NFL. He also did the same thing Sept. 30 against the Carolina Panthers. And Orange’s Earl Thomas made his first interception of the season a biggie for his Seattle Seahawks, who at the time early in the fourth period trailed New England 20-10. Patriots’ quarterback Tom Brady was putting the icing on the potential victory with a pass into the end zone when Earl jumped the pass route and intercepted the pass. Seattle went on to score two touchdowns after that and pulled out a 24-23 upset win. “I baited him,” Thomas explained after the game. “I watch a lot of tape. I had a great opportunity. I had a great break on the ball.”