Packers 42, Texans 24 in Texas-sized win
10:38 p.m. Texans' 5th Drive 1:30
Reports of the Packers' demise have been greatly exaggerated. Biggest regular season win, perhaps, since 2010.
Larry McCarren: "Certainly a win to be proud of."
Aaron Rodgers to MIchele Tafoya on NBC Sports when asked about what he'd tell the critics: "Ssssssshhhhh."
10:32 p.m. Packers' 5th Drive 4:28
3rd-7 at HOU 33: Starks slams inside the 30 yard line. Field goal time. Good confidence boost opportunity.
4th-3 at HOU 28: garbage time 4th down failure. No biggie.
10:28 p.m. Texans' 4th Drive 5:03
Yates in the game. Towel thrown in officially by Houston.
Good to see Garrett Graham make a first down catch, pinballing for a first down. Good as a Badgers follower to see an alumnus there, good as a Packers fan because time ticks down.
PICK! Hayward again! McMillan with the tip drill, and Hawyard scooped it up.
10:23 p.m. Packers' 4th Drive 5:30
Tramon Williams takes the onside kick. It's Graham Harrell time.
3rd-7 at GB 49: Starks. Not enough for a first down. Time outs burned by Houston. Miracles are only way they can come back.
10:22 p.m. Texans' 3rd Drive 5:30
Green Bay 42, Houston 24
Posey punt block recovered in end zone
Punt block. Recovered. End zone. Posey. Ugh.
10:20 p.m. Packers' 3rd Drive 5:39
3rd-10 at GB 13: Get the first down. Get Rodgers 7 TD passes, please!
Nope. Pass knocked down. Oh well. Harrell will take over.
10:05 p.m. Texans' 2nd Drive 12:16
No. Sam Shields slow to get up. Injury battles. Getting worse.
3rd-7 at HOU 23: Andre Johnson beat Williams for a first down on an inside hook and slant. 15 yards. Houston not giving up. Though tens of thousands of Texans fans have.
10,000 receiving yards for Johnson's career. A great one.
Forsett getting some time at receiver and running back. 19 yard catch. BIg holes for running lanes, too. But it is garbage time right now.
Hawyard with a great deflection to stop a touchdown pass, as fans chant "Go Pack Go!" in the background.
3rd-10 at GB 20: Another pick! Hayward! Credit. Big credit. Fantastic glove-like coverage.
9:58 p.m. Packers' 2nd Drive 14:34
Green Bay 42, Houston 17
Rodgers-Jones 18 yd TD pass
With 27 yards to the dagger, Green just plows for five yards. Simple. Easy. Demoralizing to tiring Texans defenders.
Rodgers. End zone. JAMES JONES! Ties Packers record.
9:53 p.m. Texans' 1st Drive 14:46
One more consecutive score for Green Bay...end zone, at least...and it's dagger time.
PICK? YES! Shields. Stealing one from Martin. First turnover of the game.
9:52 p.m. Packers' 1st Drive Continued from 3rd quarter
Green Bay 35, Houston 17
Rodgers-Crabtree 48 yd TD pass
3rd-1 at HOU 48: CRABTREE! HUGE! 48 yarder! WIDE OPEN! Key pass to perfection!
9:48 p.m. Packers' 3rd Drive :17
Cobb off to the races! 45 yards, to the GB 43. Fabulous response. Go score for score and time will run out on Houston. They're 57 yards from a three-score lead.
9:40 p.m. Texans' 2nd Drive 4:05
Green Bay 28, Houston 17
Foster 1 yd TD run
Schaub to Daniels. Wide open. HUGE play. 27 yards. No one within 10 yards. Larry: "Total coverage screw-up by the Green Bay Packers."
Schaub to Martin. Red zone. This is the momentum shift Packers fans should be afraid of. Unless they hold Houston to a field goal.
Martin again. Up the middle. Easy. But stopped by the end zone. Not in it. Replay proves it.
1st-goal at GB 0.5: Foster. STUFFED. Like a turkey. Hawk/Jones making a big stop, for the moment.
2nd-goal at GB 1: Foster again. Right. Easy.
9:36 p.m. Packers' 2nd Drive 5:40
Phew. Barwin's tip of a Rodgers throw falls harmlessly to the ground.
Saine out rest of game.
3rd-10 at GB 20: Rodgers to Nelson - and a first down? Stretches for it. Nope. Manning tackle stopped him by about a foot.
9:28 p.m. Texans' 1st Drive 8:16
Kickoff return: Uh oh. Packers. Saine down. At a position with little depth.
Schaub. Walter. Clockwork. Outside. It's gonna be pitch and catch time now for Houston. Glad it's a three-score lead.
HAWK! Flying (bad pun) into the backfield and corraling Schaub for 12 yards.
3rd-20 at HOU 26: Schaub threw the ball into his offensive line as they tried to set up the screen. Walden blew that up like Area 51.
9:09 p.m. Packers' 1st Drive 15:00
Green Bay 28, Houston 10
Rodgers-Nelson 2 yd TD pass
Can the Packers get a power running game going to wind down time as well as dominate possession?
Fantastic thread-the-needle throw to Randall Cobb! McCain all over him, and got flagged for it.
Fantastic protection! Rodgers had forever and enough time to read Leon Uris novels before hitting Cobb.
Rodgers to Nelson for another first down. This is absolute stealing, on an all-pro! Joseph, hand over the deed. You're getting owned tonight so far.
Blitz coming! Nelson's first drop. If that's a catch, it's a touchdown. Anger from Nelson...and I'm sure, at Nelson from Packers Planet.
Flaggage as Rodgers gets to the end zone on a scramble, but Newhouse got big time beat and had to hold him to keep Rodgers on his feet.
No, that wasn't a hold. That was a tackle.
2nd-20 at HOU 21: Droppage again. Finley. Not a perfect throw, but he has GOT to make it.
3rd-20 at HOU 21: Rodgers broken up, and a near pick as Quinn tapped it to the ground.
WHOA! Take the points off the board as the Texans got called for leaping. Three could become seven for Green Bay. Youthful mistake on Barwin's part.
Rodgers again in business...but so is Watt. 2nd sack of the night. He absolutely blew past Lang and de-helmeted Rodgers without a face mask.
Third drop of the drive. Cobb this time. What?
3rd-14 at HOU 15: ARod to Cobb...enough for the first down? Nope. Stopped at the four. Slant pattern attempt. VERY late flag. What this time?
Unnecessary roughness again on Houston. Manning punching Newhouse's helmet.
The '76 Raiders showed up as the Texans defense. And the Packers are not complaining.
1st-goal at HOU 2: Green? Nope. Stopped on the right side.
2nd-goal at HOU 2: Nelson's 3rd TD reception! Perfect throw! About a six-inch spot to throw to, and he got it there.
8:53 p.m. Texans' 3rd Drive :12
Run the ball. Go to the locker room...what? Why did the Packers call time out? What?
UNless they think they can get a pick six.
Nope. Foster. Locker room. Get your beverage.
8:44 p.m. Packers' 2nd Drive 2:15
84 yards from a three-score lead, the Packers run it to the two-minute warning. I wouldn't. Need a three-score advantage if you can get it.
After the warning, the first Finley sighting in his hoem state. Great protection to let him find Finley, who got out of bounds.
Rodgers runnin'....slidin'....first down yardage. All the Packers need right now are first downs.
Kuuuuuuuuuuuuhn. Five yards. No huddle. Wish they'd be going after bigger chunks of yardage.
3rd-5 at GB 49: Finley again, but yellow hankies. Interference on the dude who caught the ball. Stay disciplined.
3rd-15 at GB 39: Cobb, but nowhere near enough yardage. Tick. Tock. Run it down and end the half?
Houston calls time out, and the Texans get a chance, but 89 yards away, :12 left in half? Not much time.
8:35 p.m. Texans' 2nd Drive 6:45
Green Bay 21, Houston 10
Graham 51 yd FG
Wayne: Foster "gets by Clay Matthews." That is a rare sentence to hear. Darn good job by the Houston blockers on a 1st down run.
Johnson. Beating Williams on a square out. Stealing.
I am afriad we may be seeing a Packers-Saints-style shootout to come. Glad the Packers have a two-score cushion right now.
Schaub. Graham. Madison South. First down. Stealing again.
Worse. Injury. D.J. Smith. Getting bad in that linebacker depth.
Fumblied snap helps the Packers' cause to drive the Texans out of field goal range for the moment.
3rd-14 at HOU 45: Foster. Not enough for the first. Enough to make it an 11-point game.
8:25 p.m. Packers' 1st Drive 10:13
Green Bay 21, Houston 7
Rodgers-Nelson 21 yd TD pass
Where were these running lanes last week? Alex Green's linemen owning the Texans first level.
3rd-.5 at GB 22: If it's me, I take a shot play action w/Nelson vs. Joseph. But I'm not the play-caller.
Rodgers QB sneak. Does the job. Saturday stoned, but Rodgers had second effort. Larry: "Initially, it was like running into butts."
Green used in the passing game now, on a short dump off for eight yards. Naked screen, if you will, but it helped in down-distance.
3rd-2 at GB 41: Nelson. Stealing. Joseph had no chance to stop the first down.
Flag! Kareem Jackson tried to tackle and face-guard James Jones on a deep pop-fly attempt.
Second pop fly - NELSON! BOMBAGE! Touchdown!
8:14 p.m. Texans' 1st Drive continued from 1st quarter
Green Bay 14, Houston 7
Foster 1 yd TD run
Uh oh. Injured Packer. Perry. We shall see. They're working on his lower left leg. Slippery field.
3rd-5 at HOU 42: Schaub to Walter. Wide open in seam of the Packers' right side zone.
Houston gets his first sense of an offensive groove, as it's Schaub to Daniels mid-range again.
Foster owned by C.J. Wilson and company, not taking the fake of a reverse.
Uh oh. Flaggage. Sam Shields half-hugging Walter at the Green Bay 5 yard line. But if he doesn't, that's a touchdown.
1st-goal at GB 5: He patiently waited, and then pushed his way to the one yard line going left tackle. Ugh. Too close.
2nd-goal at GB 1: Foster stopped in the backfield...but not completely. Bounce move and he's in.
8:08 p.m. Texans' 4th Drive :24
Foster. Owned. Worthy leading the gang tackling. 15 minutes down, the Packers own it so far.
Key words: So far.
7:59 p.m. Packers' 4th Drive 2:47
Green Bay 14, Houston 0
Rodgers-Jones 6 yd TD pass
Packers getting great field position.
Rodgers escapes a Texan...finds Cobb! That's a houdini kinda play. Incredible. Highlight film stuff.
Rodgers is on. Mostly, at least. Jones with a fabulous comeback pattern and broken tackle along the sideline.
Now on the cusp of the red zone: Shovel to Crabtreee...and he John Kuhn's himself to the six yard line. Rodgers out-dueling Watt to get the ball there, too.
1st-goal at HOU 6: ARod to Jones....FANTASTIC DIVE! Beating Manning.
7:52 p.m. Texans' 4th Drive 5:39
A Jarrett Bush step-out on the punt at the three yard line proves that TIm Masthay is a defense's best friend.
Play action: Schaub to Daniels and Tramon Williams showed he could get a big guy down...one former Badger, Owen Daniels. Stopped a first down. He tried to strip the ball before realizing he should just make the tackle.
3rd-8.5 at HOU 4.5: Andre Johnson, tackle breaking, and a great receiver beat a darn good cornerback in Tramon Williams. Credit a great throw to where Johnson could catch it, and Williams couldn't, despite good coverage.
CLAYMAKER! Foster tripped by Matthews. He absolutely sprinted past the left tackle.
3rd-10 at HOU: Schaub has to dump it off, because Clay Matthews was do-se-do-ing with the QB. He owned this drive.
7:48 p.m. Packers' 3rd Drive 9:41
Green is getting running room that was rather unexpected. 10 yards to the Packers 46. Saturday with the block that time. Texans one of the best team at stopping the run.
Lots of no-huddle in this game...as the Packers are trying to both control personnel and tire the Texans out.
Watt. First sack today. Lang owned.
3rd-15 at HOU 40: Cobb! BARELY enough for the first down. Credit Rodgers scramble, Cobb's tippie-toes to stay in.
3rd-9 at HOU 42, against best 3rd-down defense in NFL: Incomplete. ARod wanted Cobb. Thinking back shoulder, but Rodgers threw it for Wilt Chamberlain's vertical leap.
7:41 p.m. Texans' 2nd Drive 11:34
From the 50 after some personal foul malfeasance by Houston during the extra point, a pooch kick...and the Packers get good field position again, stopping Houston at the 14.
Casey, a tight end built like a defensive end, gets a 12-yard catch to start the drive.
3rd-6 at HOU 33: Schaub SACKED! Walden this time gets to the "Bull on Parade." Virtually unblocked. Owned Schaub and the right guard trying to protect him.
7:33 p.m. Packers' 1st Drive 13:38
Green Bay 7, Houston 0
Rodgers-Nelson 41 yd TD pass
3rd-5.5 at GB 38.5: ARod to Nelson...money, though almost thieved by Joseph. Rodgers' pass was close enough to Joseph that he could try to wrestle it away. He failed.
Seven yard runs with Green, past the Watt wall, are always useful on 1st down.
3rd-3 at HOU 47:ARod to Jones...money...except Jones dropped a slightly overthrown ball. Rodgers is off, which would have stopped a touchdown anyway, as Jones was falling out of bounds. But if it's a perfect throw, it's a touchdown.
Thank you, Houston, for lining up in the neutral zone. Drive continues as the Texans do what the Packers have done too often: penalties.
ARod...deep...NELSON! That is how you start a huge game on the road!
7:30 p.m. Texans' 1st Drive 15:00 left in 1st Qtr
"WHOA!" Larry McCarren marking Robert Francois' "perfect form tackle" on special teams to drive Schaub and company behind the 20 yard line to start their drive.
SACK TIME! Coverage sack that time. A rare sight this year. C.J. Wilson cleaned up on 1st down.
3rd-12 at HOU 17: Tate run. Useless. Packers over it enough to stop it two yards short. 10 yard runs on 3rd-12 are perfectly OK for the Packers' defense if it's deep in opponent territory.
Coin toss time. Packers call tails. It's heads. Houston gets the football to start.
J.J. Watt of Pewaukee and the Wisconsin Badgers gets the biggest ovation of any Texan in Houston tonight. Proud moment, I'm sure, to face the team he grew up watching as a kid.
Larry McCarren on Packers' mindset entering tonight's game after a subpar start: "What better way to right that wrong on Sunday night, national TV?"
Mike McCarthy to 620WTMJ Packers Voice Wayne Larrivee:
On daughter's 21st birthday today:
"It's a big deal. It makes me feel old. It's a good day. It's great to have her in town."
On 2-3 Packers' psyche entering game vs. 5-0 Texans:
"They're confident. They're ready to go."
On playing in Houston:
"This is gonna be a great environment...we're prepared for it."
It's an hour before kickoff (or so) and already our Wayne Larrivee shows his world class photography skills. Check out how Wayne starts off our Packers-Texans photo gallery!
Inactives for the Packers tonight - the biggies:
WR Greg Jennings
DT B.J. Raji
We knew about Jennings, but Raji will be a big blow in the effort to halt Arian Foster, the all-world Texans back.
CB Davon House
LB Terrell Manning
S Sean Richardson
G Greg Van Roten
TE B.J. Williams
Is the task ahead of the Green Bay Packers tonight in Houston too daunting?
Outside the Packers locker room, those who observe this game have plenty of reason perceive it that way.
Though the undefeated Houston Texans have been crowned as the de-facto best team in the NFL, it's not even their excellence that should bring the most trepidation to Packers followers.
It's the Packers themselves, their own internal situation.
They come into the game against the NFL's fifth-best scoring defense with only two legitimate consistent receiving or running threats: Jordy Nelson and James Jones.
Greg Jennings is out. Jermichael Finley was ruled as questionable, and even when he's in, the all-world talent is too inconsistent.
Cedric Benson is out. He will be for the next eight weeks.
The offensive line is in shambles. Aaron Rodgers has thrown four interceptions, a not-so-bad but very un-Rodgers-like total, in five games.
All that comes as the Texans, with Pewaukee's own J.J. Watt terrorizing offensive lines, have held passing attacks to a little more than 190 yards per game through the air.
Then, on the other side of the football, the Texans have Arian Foster to gash the often not-so-textbook-tackling Packers like Frank Gore and Marshawn Lynch already have.
They have Andre Johnson to carve up the Packers secondary like Reggie Wayne did last week.
All that, and the Packers are on the road, too.
Is it hopeless for the Packers? Of course not. They still have many healthy cogs of the team that won 19 straight games, especially that Rodgers guy.
If they do get it done, on the road, in Houston, on national television, they will send a message to the football world that the Packers are not a corpse, are not a shell of their championship selves, and are still a contender to win their 14th world championship.
The ability to perservere, overcome and reign victorious in such a challenge as this is a mark of a champion, something many of these Packers know from the experience of doing it in 2010.