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Quieting the critics (10/17/2012)
By Dave DeLano

Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packer offense lit up the scoreboard and dominated the previously undefeated Houston Texans Sunday on national television. The final score was 42 – 24 and a sweet win it was for Cheeseheads. After a very disappointing loss to the Indianapolis Colts in a game they should have won last week, the Packers silenced some of their critics with an A+ effort in Houston.

The heretofore underachieving 2012 Packers came out of the gate firing on all cylinders. The Packer offense played their hurry-up, no-huddle offense from the get-go and the high energy and urgency to win this game was on display early. Rodgers excels in this environment. He hit Jordy Nelson with two first-half touchdown passes and James Jones with a third as the Packers ran up a 21 – 10 lead at halftime. Those three touchdown passes attacked the Texans’ perimeter defense by design, as the talented Texan defense has had a knack of knocking down passes thrown across the middle. It takes a very special talent to complete perimeter throws of this nature. Rodgers has it and was spectacular Sunday night.

The Packer defense came to this game to play too. Clay Matthews III brought incredible energy especially in the first half and although he garnered no sacks, he was an intimidating force throughout the contest. CMIII is one of the best defensive players in the league. The Packers’ defense also got a boost from two rookies Sunday as Jerel Worthy and Casey Hayward showed why they were picked early in last spring’s collegiate draft. Hayward had two second-half interceptions and may see considerable playing time as this season goes forward. The defense held all-pro running back Arian Foster to minimal yardage even without defensive lineman B. J. Raji, who was held out this game due to an ankle injury. Worthy stepped in nicely.

As sweet as this victory was, it came with a price. Leg injuries took down Nick Perry, D. J. Smith, Brandon Saine and Sam Shields and none of those looked minor from what I saw. Two years ago, the year the Packers won the Super Bowl, injuries hounded the team mercilessly, but it didn’t seem to matter as the next guy up filled the void and then some. Time will tell if history repeats itself.

On the day, Aaron Rodgers tied an all-time Packer record by passing for six touchdowns, three to Jordy Nelson, two to James Jones and one to Tom Crabtree. It was an awesome performance against a tough Texan defense that was ranked third best in the league.

The much-needed win brings the Packers’ record to 3 – 3 and the schedule looks a little more favorable going forward. Hopefully the Packers will build momentum from this win and, who knows, maybe this game will be the game that gets the wins to start flowing again.

Next week the Packers travel to St Louis to take on the 3 – 3 Rams. If the Packers play like they did against the Texans, they should win next week in a cakewalk. Unfortunately, you cannot bottle professional football success and bring it out when needed. The Rams don’t have anywhere near the talent of the Texans, but they are much improved over last year and no NFL team can be taken lightly. Nonetheless, the Packers should be at least a touchdown favorite after their performance in Houston.

D H D 


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