Bay Packers wide receiver James Jones (89) scores a touchdown
against the Houston Texans in the fourth quarter of an NFL
football game, Sunday, Oct. 14, 2012, in Houston. The Packers
GREEN BAY —
Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay
Packers were able to hush their critics — for one day, at least —
with a convincing road win against previously unbeaten Houston. Next
they'll try to win consecutive games for the first time this season.
"Our team has a lot of pride. They have never lost any
confidence. I haven't seen that. I think after (Sunday) night's win,
it's even stronger," coach Mike McCarthy said a day after beating
the Texans 42-24.
Now, the Packers (3-3) turn their attention to the Rams (3-3),
whom they'll face Sunday in St. Louis in the last of three
consecutive road games.
"But you just turn the page and you get up and you come into work
today and you put on the St. Louis Rams tape and you see a team that
had almost 500 yards of offense versus (Miami on Sunday) and they
lose the game. So it's tough every week in this league, and you're
foolish not to think so.
"We need to do all the little things that we did a better job of
leading up this game and into this game this week as we did (Sunday)
night. And that's the facts."
Another fact: Rodgers, the reigning NFL MVP, plays better when he
feels he has something to prove — and he certainly felt that way
against the Texans, who watched him complete 24 of 37 passes for 338
yards with a franchise record-tying six touchdowns and no
interceptions (133.8 passer rating).
After the game, Rodgers was asked what he thought he told critics
with the team's performance against Houston.
"Shhhhhhh," Rodgers replied before smirking and walking away.
There were certainly plenty of critics for Rodgers and the
Packers to answer, both nationally and locally. In his postgame news
conference, Rodgers didn't specifically address any of the criticism
but acknowledged he was aware of it.
"Of course, I heard it," Rodgers said. "It wasn't like I paid a
lot of attention to it, but people, whether it's good stuff or bad
stuff, friends of mine, they like to tell me what's being said out
there. I'm not somebody that watches a ton of TV or puts a whole lot
of worth into some of those comments, but I feel like I've always
played with a chip on my shoulder. It helps when people give me a
reason to have that chip."
Meanwhile, McCarthy took issue with the idea that, before Sunday
night's victory, there had been something "wrong" with his team.
After dropping the regular-season opener to San Francisco at home,
the Packers' next two losses came under unusual circumstances: Sept.
24 at Seattle on a contested desperation touchdown pass on the
game's final play that was ruled a catch and not an interception by
the NFL's replacement officials working the game; Oct. 7 at
Indianapolis in which the Packers frittered away a 21-3 lead against
an emotional Colts team that was playing its first game after head
coach Chuck Pagano had been diagnosed with leukemia.
"There's such a fine line between winning and not winning. I
think that sometimes gets lost in the conversation that the players
and the coaches go through and when it doesn't go your way,"
McCarthy said. "I think sometimes when you give honest answers to
questions . things get skewed and strong opinions are made about
individuals or how we're playing.
"We're 3-3, and I know exactly why we're 3-3. But I (also) know
how to continue to improve. Maybe that gets old, but that's the way
we operate. It's about fundamentals, it's about having the proper
mindset and energy. Teams have to work and improve throughout the
year at practice, we're doing that. Those are things we're focused
on. That's not what's wrong with our team."
NOTES: The Packers announced that both starting inside
linebacker D.J. Smith and reserve running back Brandon Saine had
been lost for the remainder of the season to knee injuries they
sustained Sunday. Saine was placed on injured reserve on Monday to
make room for ex-Buffalo Bills running back Johnny White, whom the
team claimed on waivers. Saine played in all six games this season,
but did not carry the ball and worked almost exclusively on special
teams. . The team did not make a roster move with Smith, but
defensive coordinator Dom Capers said he has a number of options at
the position. Smith became a starter when standout inside linebacker
Desmond Bishop had a season-ending hamstring injury in the Aug. 9
preseason opener at San Diego. . McCarthy indicated that injuries to
two other starters — rookie outside linebacker Nick Perry (knee) and
cornerback Sam Shields (shin) — were not season-ending and said more
information would be available about each player on Wednesday after
further medical testing.
NEW YORK — Comments on the
Green Bay Packers by the AP Pro32 panel (ranking in parentheses):
Chris Berman (ESPN, 5) — So ... THAT'S the team that went 15-1 a
Clifton Brown (Sporting News, 7) — When they protect Aaron
Rodgers, he can light it up against anyone.
Rich Gannon (CBS Sports/SiriusXM NFL Radio, 6) — I laugh at
people who question and criticize reigning NFL MVP Aaron Rodgers ...
Bob Glauber (Newsday, 7) — J.J. Watt mocked Aaron Rodgers with a
"championship belt" pose after a sack, but it was Rodgers who got
the last laugh. The last six laughs, actually. His half dozen TD
passes gave Green Bay a much-needed lift after a week's worth of
locker room tumult.
Rick Gosselin (Dallas Morning News, 10) — Aaron Rodgers has
already been sacked 23 times through six games this season. He was
sacked only 36 times all of last year.
Clark Judge (CBSSports.com, 7) — Nope, I don't mind that the
Packers have three wins. What matters is what they did to Houston:
They proved they're on their way back.
Ira Kaufman (Tampa Tribune, 4) — Folks, that's the Aaron Rodgers
who ran away with the league's MVP award last season.
Pat Kirwan (SiriusXM NFL Radio/CBSSports.com, 7) — The 42 points
on the Texan defense was a statement. The Packers looked like the
team that went 15-1 last year and just like the Patriots they better
not slide back.
John Lynch (Fox Sports, 7) — That is the Packers team and QB we
all expected to see in 2012. Some defensive injuries will hurt but
if No. 12 keeps playing like he did Thursday night vs. the Texans,
Alex Marvez (Foxsports.com, 9) — Shhhhh
Dan Pompei (Chicago Tribune, 7) — Their record says they are 3-3,
but their fans say they should be 5-1. Hard to argue.