For the second week in a row the Packers needed a dramatic last second field goal from Ryan Longwell to seal their deal. In an injury-marred affair, the Packers emerged victorious over the Houston Texans Sunday night by a score of 16 - 13 in a very entertaining ball game.
The Packers started this game being the hittees rather than the hitters, as the revved- up Houston Texans were intent upon impressing their fans in a rare national TV opportunity for the fledgling franchise. The super-charged Texans were able to run up a 13 - 3 lead by half-time and it did not look good for the Cheesehead nation. The Packer offense just couldn't get it going without Ahman Green, who went down to injury very early in the contest.
Green's back-up, Najeh Davenport, was inactive for this game due to a hamstring injury and recently hired replacement Walter Williams sprained an ankle early in the game. That left Tony Fischer as the Packers' lone healthy tailback and adjustments started to take place within the Packer brain trust. The bad news for the Texans was that the running back injury situation meant that Brett Favre would be putting the ball in the air.
Halftime must have been interesting in the Packer locker room. For the first time in the 2004 season, the Packer defense came out in the second half fired-up and played outstanding ball. The Texans' offense was totally shut out, having to punt six times in six possessions, and they are not a shoddy group, ranking 9th in the NFL. Al Harris blanketed the Texans' stud receiver Andre Johnson while the rest of the defense shut down the Texans' running game. It was the most impressive defensive performance of the year.
The Packers got their passing game in gear as the game wore on. Favre threw the ball an uncharacteristic 50 times due to the running back problems. Donald Driver had a huge game in his hometown. Cheeseheads everywhere had to smile as he put on a career performance in front of his 83-year-old grandmother, who had never seen him play in person before. What a thrill that must have been for her.
For Favre, this game was the 31st time in his illustrious career that he has led the Pack back from a 4th quarter tie or deficit to victory. Favre is a truly remarkable football player, maybe the best ever. Despite all the adversity of injuries and stupid penalties, Favre's persona seemed to have willed this victory for the Cheeseheads. How fortunate we all are to have # 4 to entertain us on Sundays.
Next Monday night the Packers host the St Louis Rams. The Rams have historically been a problem for Green Bay, but this year they are a team in decline with serious defensive problems. Hopefully, Green and company will mend in time to be productive next week. The defense should build confidence from their much improved performance Sunday. On a roll with five wins in a row, the Pack needs to keep winning as the schedule gets tougher in the weeks ahead.
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