Packers 42, Texans 24: Troubling Trends Continue in First Loss; The 5 Biggest Holes to Fill
It may be only one loss, but the trend lines are concerning.
Photos by Daniel Kramer Yeah, yeah: FIVE TDs would've proven your point just as well, Rodgers.
For a second straight week, the Texans (5-1) were outplayed in a handful of key areas, most notably within the once-vaunted line play as well as individual battles of receivers vs. cornerbacks. But unlike this past Monday, when the Texans went against the hopeless combination of Mark Sanchez and Tim Tebow, they met a quarterback in Aaron Rodgers that fully exploited those holes.
The result was a nationally televised shellacking that has many wondering if the Texans can compete with the NFL's elite.
"There are no excuses here," said head coach Gary Kubiak. "We got beat across the board."
Logic tells us that virtually every team in the modern NFL throws up a stinker. These same Packers lost a week earlier to the Colts. The 49ers were drilled at home by the Giants, who earlier in the year were beaten at home by the Cowboys. The Patriots fell Sunday to the mediocre Seahawks.
Most true contenders, however, show it in their response -- much like Green Bay did on Sunday night.
In six days, the Texans have a similar redemption opportunity when they face a Baltimore team now tied with them atop the AFC. To win, though, the club must plug a handful of holes, many of which began showing this past Monday in New York. Here's a look at five of the most costly against the Packers:
5.) Duane Brown
Matt Schaub entered Sunday with three sacks. That total doubled in just one game, along with two interceptions that largely resulted from throws under duress. Arian Foster followed up his best game of the year in New York (29 carries, 152 yards) with a 17-for-29 clunker. Both players' performances largely reflect the Houston offensive line, which was thoroughly outplayed by a Green Bay front missing one of its best players in tackle B.J. Raji.
The mistakes are somewhat understandable from the right side, where the Texans are still developing a handful of guards and tackles following the offseason departures of Mike Brisiel and Eric Winston. What's inexcusable were breakdowns from Pro Bowl left tackle Duane Brown, who proved no match against Clay Matthews in pass protection.
The Texans let Winston and Brisiel leave in large part because they saw Brown as a franchise-caliber player that could anchor the unit during its transition. They rewarded him with a massive extension during the preseason. It's now up to Brown to prove worthy.