The Green Bay Packers weren’t happy with their performance last week, against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. (Neither was I for that matter.) A 38-10 drubbing, where nothing went well, puts you in need of a bounce-back. That’s exactly what the Packers got at the expense of the Houston Texans, 35-20.
There were many small pieces that caught my eye in Sunday’s victory and those I’ll cover in a future episode of TO:SS. For now, I’ll stick with two big things that stuck out to me.
Aaron Rodgers was a game manager. Yes, I said it. In this game, at this level, with this kind of player, those words would be considered an insult. Except, I’m not using them in that context. Rodgers had 4 touchdown passes and over 280 passing. He was the best kind of game manager. What do I mean?
Rodgers’ biggest problem over the last few years was that he held on to the ball too long. He constantly looked for the long, game-changing bomb, instead of taking what the defense gave him and sustain drives. This wasn’t the case against Houston. Rodgers got the ball out quickly, took what the defense gave him, and took deep shots organically. This lead to an efficient, winning performance. Rodgers was a game manager Sunday, but Rodgers was the best damn game manager on Sunday.
On the defensive side of the ball; Jaire Alexander continues to prove why he truly is a shutdown corner. (Yes, I’m anointing him.) Over the last three games, Alexander has been tasked with covering: Atlanta’s Calvin Ridley, Tampa Bay’s Mike Evans, and the Texans’ Will Fuller. A gauntlet. In those games Alexander thrown at 7 times and allowed ZERO catches. Not only are teams not having success throwing to receivers covered by him, they have given up on trying. That is the ultimate respect of a DB in this league. When you cut the field in half, and render the opposition’s best receiver useless, you are a shutdown corner. (Charles Woodson and Al Harris are smiling.)
Green Bay has a winnable home game against the 1-5 Minnesota Vikings, this Sunday. It’s a chance to get things right before another big test in Week 9; a Sunday Night road game against the San Francisco 49ers. If their style of play versus the Texans was any indication, I’d say they are starting learn from the past.