Refocused Packers take their anger and frustration out on inept Texans

Ryan Wood
Packers News
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They were pissed off boarding their plane in Tampa one week ago. Stronger language than that. There were F-bombs. An extra finger of scotch. And that’s just what the Green Bay Packers vented publicly. 

To a man, the Packers agreed on one thing: They’d gotten their butts kicked in Southwest Florida. So they didn’t sit for a week. No, this team worked. The Packers carried a Texas-sized chip on their collective shoulders into Sunday’s game against the Houston Texans. 

Never mind missing four starters. This week, there were no excuses. 

“It definitely wasn’t due to the criticism,” receiver and player-of-Sunday’s-game Davante Adams said. “I don’t think that had anything to do with it. I know I didn’t pay any attention to that. It’s more so just we felt like we owed it to ourselves.” 

They were pissed off because how they played in Tampa Bay, the dreck they evaluated one excruciating frame after another in Monday’s film session, was not them. So the Packers took all that frustration, the anger, and exercised it on one of the NFL’s worst teams.  

No All-Pro left tackle. No star running back. No problem. The Packers didn’t so much beat the Texans on Sunday as they suffocated them, sprinting out to a big, early lead, then coasting for a 35-20 win. 

At halftime, the Packers had 21 points. The Texans had 24 plays. 

This is what a Matt LaFleur team does. What’s more impressive than the 18-4 record LaFleur has accumulated through his first 22 regular-season games? Look at the four games that have immediately followed losses. 

The Packers beat the Dallas Cowboys by 10 points last season after losing to the Philadelphia Eagles. They beat the Carolina Panthers by eight after their no-show at the Los Angles Chargers. They steamrolled the New York Giants by 18 after getting blown out in San Francisco. 

On Sunday, they didn’t let the Texans score until the second half. 

By then, the game was over. 

“I said it was an anomaly,” quarterback Aaron Rodgers said of the Packers’ blowout loss last week to the Bucs, a loss so bad it was inescapable even Sunday. “And, obviously, we wanted to back that up. Not that if it would have gone the other way, it wouldn’t have been. That game is an outlier, I believe, and today was more in line with our first four weeks. I know we’re in Week 7, but they’ve had a lot of turmoil over there on that side. A game that if we want to be a great team, we’ve got to win these games.” 

Yes, the Packers did exactly what they’re supposed to do against a team like the Texans. Houston fired its head coach, Bill O’Brien, earlier this month. That came after one of the more botched trades in recent NFL history, the Texans sending receiver DeAndre Hopkins to the Arizona Cardinals for running back David Johnson. 

That the Packers took care of business is precisely what they needed to ensure their season would get back on track. It wasn’t a coincidence. After being surprisingly candid about their poor practices leading up to Tampa Bay, the Packers refocused. Their plan was better. The plays were crisper. By Friday, Adams said, he had “a pretty good feeling” what was going to happen in the game. 

Then Sunday came, and what happened was the Texans were incapable of covering Adams. The Packers' top receiver finished with 13 catches for a career-high 196 yards, threatening the single-game record of 14 he tied with legendary Don Hutson in the season opener at Minnesota. He had seven catches for 124 yards on third down, including both his touchdown catches. 

“It’s one thing to feel great about a play on Thursday or Friday,” Adams said. “But once you get out there and it looks the exact same way that you drew it up and, you know, get the coverage that you wanted and all that, that’s when you’re in a really good spot.” 

Now the Packers look ahead to a divisional rival. They’ll host the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday having left their frustration in Houston. At 5-1, the Packers are in the driver’s seat in the NFC North, where they’re tied for first with the Chicago Bears with two games still to be played against them this season. They’d be wise, though, not to lose their edge. 

It made a big difference Sunday. 

“We just didn’t like our performance last week,” safety Adrian Amos said, “so we just took it one day at a time. we left last week, last week, and we went in and tried to prepare each and every practice like it was a game situation. Everybody holding each other accountable. No slacking, no loafing. Everyone on their assignments, their keys.  

“That’s how we have to prepare each and every week. We have to prepare to be great each and every week.” 

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