The Green Bay Packers took care of business in Houston on Sunday, beating the one-win Texans and bouncing back from last week’s defeat in Tampa Bay with a 35-20 victory.
Here are the studs and duds from the Packers’ win over the Texans in Week 7:
WR Davante Adams: This was an elite receiver at the height of his powers. The numbers were fantastic: 13 catches, 196 yards, two touchdowns. He converted seven different third downs with touchdowns or first downs. The Texans lost Bradley Roby early and crumbled in coverage against one of the game’s best. Using an array of moves to win free releases at the line, Adams was practically unguardable in man coverage. The Texans stubbornly stuck with it and rarely doubled him. In addition to creating consistent separation, he also produced almost 100 yards after the catch. Several times, he bailed out off-target throws from Aaron Rodgers with tough catches. There has probably never been a more complete performance from Davante Adams.
CB Jaire Alexander: Quarterbacks and playcallers are paying Alexander the ultimate respect; they just don’t challenge him. Alexander was quiet Sunday, but only because Deshaun Watson only targeted his coverage once, and he broke up the pass to Will Fuller late in the back of the end zone. Fuller didn’t have a catch against his coverage. It must be rare in the NFL for a cornerback to play 52 coverage snaps and only be targeted once.
OLB Preston Smith: He didn’t have a sack, but he was still disruptive, particularly against the run and creating for others. On the first series, Smith held the edge and helped produce a stop on third-and-short. He was largely responsible for Krys Barnes’ sack in the second quarter. He beat Laremy Tunsil with an inside move and immediately pressured Watson, who couldn’t escape the pocket. Later, he combined with Kingsley Keke to force Watson into the waiting arms of Za’Darius Smith. His signature play came in the fourth quarter when he played the option play perfectly on fourth down. Take away the pitch, and then attack the quarterback. The stop essentially ended the game.
LT Billy Turner: An encouraging performance, to say the least, from the Packers’ do-everything offensive lineman. Turner played all 62 snaps at left tackle, replacing David Bakhtiari. He gave up just one pressure, and it came early in the contest. Once he settled in, Turner was solid, essentially taking Whitney Mercilus out of the contest as a pass-rusher.
DL Kenny Clark: He was clearly knocking off some rust during his return last week. He looked more like the disruptive Kenny Clark on Sunday. The big nose tackle played a big part in the Packers’ efforts against the run, and he helped collapse on the pocket and force Watson off the spot several times in passing situations. On one play in the third quarter, Clark ripped past the right guard and stopped Duke Johnson after one yard.
RT Rick Wagner: Out of his element at left tackle last week in Tampa Bay, Wagner shifted back to the right side on Sunday and battled J.J. Watt for most of the afternoon. In the passing game, Wagner was the clear winner over the three-time Defensive Player of the Year. A few times, Watt got to Wagner’s outside shoulder but Wagner was able to recover and escort him out of the pocket. Aaron Rodgers did an admirable job of feeling potential edge pressure and stepping up in the pocket to help his tackles. Wagner didn’t allow a pressure, per Pro Football Focus.
LB Kamal Martin: His NFL debut featured 29 encouraging snaps. Martin needs more experience playing coverage at this level but he provided some pop in the run game. Three of his six tackles were within one yard of the line of scrimmage. Near the goal line, Martin went through tight end Darren Fells in the hole and helped drop David Johnson for a loss. Later, he scraped down the line, found Johnson and drilled him down after one yard. Martin might have the athleticism and physicality to be an effective downhill run stopper.
(AP Photo/Eric Christian Smith)
LB Ty Summers: The Texans picked on Summers in the passing game once he entered the contest for Krys Barnes. In fact, both of Watson’s touchdown passes could be credited to Summers. For whatever reason, he left trailing coverage on David Johnson in the end zone with Watson scrambling to his left, allowing an easy score. He wrongly assumed Josh Jackson would drop into coverage instead of pressing the scrambling quarterback. Later, he was late recognizing the zone-beater scheme and allowed Watson to fit in a throw to Will Fuller at the goal line for a score.
WR Marquez Valdes-Scantling: He did maintain a block on Davante Adams’ swerving run-after-catch on one third down rep. And his speed does help clear out routes underneath in this scheme. He’s just not a consistent wide receiver. Both of his catchable targets on Sunday fell incomplete, including a drop past the sticks on third down. It was a play he has to make. After a strong start, Valdes-Scantling has just eight catches for 82 yards over the last four games.
RB Dexter Williams: There’s no excusing the execution or effort on the blocked punt. He blew the assignment on the right edge, plain and simple, and it directly caused the block. The Packers immediately replaced him on the punt team with Jamaal Williams. As a backup running back, special teams are important, and Dexter failed the test as a practice squad call-up on Sunday.
WR Darrius Shepherd: He was mostly invisible over 29 snaps. On his lone target, he either didn’t know the playcall or wasn’t on the same page as Aaron Rodgers. The Packers need Tyler Ervin back, not only as a jet motion guy, but also in the return game. Shepherd is a safe returner, but he doesn’t have any juice. He averaged 18.0 yards per kickoff return.
Watch: Highlights of Packers' 35-20 win over Texans
Packers Wire post-game chat: Getting back on track in Houston
Davante Adams' Week 7 route chart is a piece of art
Packers CB Jaire Alexander shuts down another No. 1 WR