Packers vs. Texans: Final score 42-24, Green Bay officially back in the NFC North race

Bob Levey - Getty Images

The Green Bay Packers put together their best performance of the season on Sunday night, as they ended the Houston Texans' undefeated run in an emphatic victory.

While many predicted that the Green Bay Packers would get their season back on track with a victory over the Houston Texans on Sunday night, no one predicted that they would do it so emphatically.

Aaron Rodgers and Jordy Nelson, who had looked fairly pedestrian up until this point of the season, absolutely destroyed the Texans in a 42-24 Packers victory. Rodgers tied Matt Flynn's franchise record for six touchdown passes in one game and three of them went to Nelson, who finished with nine catches for 121 yards and three touchdowns. Randall Cobb also had a massive day through the air, with seven catches for 102 yards.

For a previously potent Texans offense, it was a rough day at the office. Matt Schaub finished with 232 yards, no touchdowns and two interceptions while the Texans only managed 62 yards rushing on 24 carries as a team.

The Packers got off to a fast start, and if it wasn't for last week's second half collapse against the Indianapolis Colts, the game would have been assumed over after the first quarter. Houston started off their day with a three-and-out, which was followed up by a huge touchdown drive by Green Bay. The drive was stalled by a Cobb drop and a missed throw by Rodgers on third down, but the Texans lined up offside on the ensuing punt to extend the drive. Rodgers hit Nelson with a perfect back shoulder throw on the following play for a 41-yard touchdown, and that would be just the first of many instances of the Texans beating themselves.

Houston's drives continued to stall, and the Packers extended their lead on their third possession. Rodgers shook off a sack and improvised to hit Cobb for a 24-yard gain to open the drive, and incredibly, it was just the third best play of the drive. Rodgers also found Tom Crabtree for 14 yards on a shovel pass, then hit James Jones for a touchdown on a beautiful play action pass.

The Texans attempted to make things interesting with a solid sustained drive the next time they had the ball, which was capped off by a 1-yard TD run by Arian Foster after a pass interference call against Sam Shields set them up with 1st and goal on the 4-yard line. Unfortunately for Foster and the offense, the Texans defense failed to match their effort.

Green Bay slowly marched the ball up the field on their next drive before a pass interference call went against Kareem Jackson, who tried to get away with face-guarding Jones. The next play of the drive was another brilliant throw to Nelson, who hauled in his second touchdown of the game from 21 yards out to put the Packers 14 points up.

Houston managed to cut the lead to 11 points with a field goal on their next drive, a drive that also claimed D.J. Smith for the rest of the game. He was hit late by a Texans offensive lineman and was unable to put any weight on his left leg as he was helped off the field. The team called it an Achilles injury, and Brad Jones played inside linebacker for the rest of the game.

Jermichael Finley made one big reception to move the Packers upfield on the Packers' last drive of the half, but was also flagged for offensive pass interference, a penalty that effectively ended the drive and took the team out of scoring range. Bizarrely, with 12 seconds remaining in the half, Mike McCarthy called a timeout on the Texans' last possession to make them snap again, but they rain out the clock without incident as the half closed with the Packers leading 21-10.

The Packers attempted to issue a statement to Houston with a big touchdown drive to open the second half. They failed multiple times to do this, but were given second and third chances to score by the Texans. Houston came up with a big stop on their 21-yard line after a Rodgers rushing touchdown was nullified by a holding penalty, but a leaping penalty on Connor Barwin during Mason Crosby's field goal attempt gave the Packers an automatic first down. They were stopped again on 3rd down, and again a Texans penalty gave them new life. Daniel Manning was called for unnecessary roughness, giving the Packers a third shot at a touchdown, which Rodgers took advantage of by hitting Nelson for his third touchdown of the game.

Houston put together a very good drive just before the end of the third quarter, highlighted by a massive 27-yard reception by Owen Daniels. Foster punched in a touchdown from one yard out to make it 28-17, and at that point, it felt like the Texans were going to get back into the game. That sentiment did not last long.

A brilliant kick return by Cobb was followed up by a 9-yard run by Alex Green, which put the Packers in a position to get creative with their playcalling. McCarthy dialed up a perfect one, and the Texans were completely fooled. On a rollout play to the right, Crabtree was left uncovered and made a spectacular run after the catch to score what felt like a virtual game-ending 48-yard touchdown less than a minute into the 4th quarter.

The game transitioned from disappointing into embarrassing territory shortly afterwards for Houston. Schaub was picked off by Shields on the ensuing Texans drive, and the Packers scored another touchdown shortly afterwards. That play was the clear highlight of the night (GIF), with Jones hauling in an absolutely stellar diving catch for an 18-yard touchdown.

While the rest of the game was completely inconsequential, it was certainly eventful. Casey Hayward came up with two interceptions before the end of the game -- one on Schaub and one on backup T.J. Yates -- while the Texans also managed to score a touchdown off of a blocked punt. Everything after the Jones touchdown just seemed to be garbage time fun, however, as that play truly ended the game.

You can find all of our previous Packers vs. Texans coverage right here.

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