The Houston Texans defense had a long evening in Mr. Rodgers neighborhood last Sunday night. Unlike Mr. Rogers on PBS, Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers was unfriendly to the Texans. Rodgers rendered the Texans’ defense helpless as they surrendered six touchdowns, 328 yards through the air, and 42 points in their worst performance in over a calendar year.
The last quarterback to drop 40 on the Texans D was Drew Brees in a 40-33 week 3 loss to the New Orleans Saints last season. That was the most points the Texans defense allowed in 2011. They followed that up the next week with a bounce back performance at home vs an AFC North power. Houston’s defense had a dominating game against the Pittsburgh Steelers, battering Ben Rothlisberger and sending him out of Reliant Stadium in a walking boot in a 17-10 victory.
After giving up 42 points to Green Bay, the Texans are set for a home game against another AFC North power and would welcome a repeat performance of that Pittsburgh game. This time, the Baltimore Ravens come to Reliant with another offense that will be a challenge for the Houston defense. The Ravens have been hit hard by injuries on the defensive side of the ball but their offense is healthy and coming off of a game where they put up 31 points against the Dallas Cowboys.
The Houston defense was ranked 2nd in the NFL prior to getting lit up by Rodgers. J.J. Watt, the grand marshall of the Bulls on Parade, continued his stellar play and was one of the bright spots in the loss Sunday. He had two sacks of Rodgers to reclaim the lead league with 9.5 sacks on the season. The run defense also did well in the first game without linebacker and defensive captain Brian Cushing, out for the season with a torn ACL. Houston gave up 99 yards rushing, limiting the Packers to 3.2 yards per carry. Tim Dobbins replaced Cushing in the lineup, and will be an important part of the game plan to stop Ravens All-Pro RB Ray Rice.
The Texans defense also had an injury added to the insult against the Pack. The bulls lost yet another member of their parade for the season. This time it was backup DE Tim Jamison who went down with a torn Achilles. Jamison was a key member of the defensive line rotation and had three tackles, a sack, and a pass defensed this season after blossoming and playing in all 16 games last season. The undrafted Jamison was rewarded with a two-year contract extension the day before the season started.
Rookie DE Jared Crick will take Jamison’s spot in the d-line rotation vs. the Ravens. Crick was the Texans 4th round pick out of Nebraska. He had 2 tackles against Green Bay after replacing Jamison. Jamison was placed on IR and to take his place on the roster Houston signed rookie David Hunter off of their practice squad. Hunter is an undrafted defensive end from the University of Houston.
It’s a pretty good bet that Wade Phillips’ defense will respond after the poor outing against the Packers. After the New Orleans game last season, the Texans didn’t allow more than 29 points in another game all season. Expect similar results in 2012. Sunday’s poor performance can just be shrugged off as one bad showing against the reigning MVP quarterback who was on his A game in a must win situation for his team. Thankfully the Texans won’t have to visit Mr. Rodgers neighborhood again for another four years, unless they were to meet Green Bay in a Super Bowl. That would be a scenario in which they wouldn’t mind a return visit.