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Packers vs. Texans: Defensive Review

Once again the play of the defensive rookies stole the show with Jerel Worthy getting a sack and Casey Hayward snagging two interceptions.

Brett Davis-US PRESSWIRE - Presswire

Do you ever get the feeling that you are living in the movie Ground Hog’s Day? That you are forced to live out the same day over and over with a bad hair cut? The term that we often use to describe this feeling (besides you know, torture) is déjà vu. We Packer fans are probably feeling that a lot right now, in some good way and some not so good ways.

In 2010 the Packers were 3-3, needing to do a little soul searching after some bad losses to the Washington Redskins and Miami Dolphins. We also had a large chunk of our defense out injured…especially at the middle linebacker spot.

In 2012 The Packers are 3-3 and needing to step up their play from the first quarter of football after disappointing losses to the Seattle Seahawks and the Indianapolis Colts. Also before you start going on and on about refs screwing us on the Seahawks game remember that there was a noncalled roughing the passer penalty that would of kept a drive alive in OT for the Redskin game in 2010. Oh, and there are some massive injury problems again and most notably at the middle linebacker spot….again.

In 2010 the Packer rose to the challenge, had a top five defense despite the injuries, and went on to win the Super Bowl. I’m sure that we are all feeling like that is a strong possibility again after the rather convincing win on Sunday night in Houston…..especially since many an analyst and fan had left the team for dead in this game. Whether the Packers can once again overcome a rash of injuries and snag the ultimate prize is yet to be seen, but the Packers do appear to have some young talent and depth in that defense that should make this year interesting.

Passing Defense review

Key Performances:

Matt Schaub: 20/33 232 Yards 60.6% 3 Sacks 2 Int. 55.6 Passer Rating

Andre Johnson: 8 receptions 75 yards 15 long

Casey Hayward: 3 passes defended 2 Int.

Jerel Worthy: 3 tackles 1 sack

The Texans’ game plan fell right into the Packers’ defense strength, namely, the Texans decided to put the ball into Schaub’s hands and pass right into the Packers secondary. The improved pass rush came through with Clay Matthews applying pressure and three sacks coming from A.J. Hawk, C.J. Wilson, and Worthy. Not bad. More impressive when you consider that in the previous five weeks Schaub had been sacked three times and picked off twice. The Packers did that to him in just this game alone. Then came back and picked off T.J. Yates one more time for fun.

That said I have to rave a bit more about the young secondary personnel that we have right now. Sam Shields and Tramon Williams struggled a bit with Andre Johnson, but the big play was completely taken away from Johnson. Not bad and a performance that I can generally live with (even though I listed Williams among the Dud of the Week –I mean come on I have to nominate someone and everyone else in the secondary did awesome). Shields got a highlight even with a beautiful pick of Schaub to start putting the game away. But the real stars of the show were the rookies…..again. Jerron McMillian continued to show his nose for the ball defending a T.J. Yates pass that he should of picked….but was intercepted by Casey Hayward. Hayward himself got to make some pretty plays as well turning in about as good a night as you can expect from a cornerback. If he can continue to turn in nights like this one, especially in primetime, don’t be surprised if you start to hear his name in the defensive rookie of the year award conversation.

Rushing defense review

Key Performances

Arian Foster: 17 carries 29 yards 1.7 average per run 5 Long 2 TD

A.J. Hawk: 10 total tackles 6 solo 4 assist

You would not have much of a fight on your hands to say that Foster is one of the most complete backs in the game. The Texans are also one of the best running teams in the league, so let me tell you just how surprised I was that our defense was first and foremost able to shut this potent running attack down. I figured that the only way that would happen is if the Packers offense ran up the lead and forced the Texans into passing the ball alone. While that did happen to some degree, there was still a large chunk of the game where the Texans could run their normal offense, but just could not get Foster going. Much of the credit for this has to go to the defensive line, led by Ryan Pickett, and Hawk for stopping the run dead in its tracks. Clay Matthews also was instrumental in stopping the outside run which is a staple of the Texans. All in all, a very good day.

Special Teams Review

Key Performance:

Tim Masthay : 4 Punts 51.5 Average 55 Long 3 Inside the 20

Another week and another solid performance by the Ginger Wolverine and his crew. Sadly this may be the most consistent part of the team right now. Hopefully over the next couple weeks the offense and defense will stay at the high level they showed this past game and that won’t be the case anymore.