Over 70,000 fans packed into Lambeau Field to see the Green Bay Packers open the 2021 preseason on Saturday night against the Houston Texans.
David Culley’s team exited Green Bay with a 26-7 win over the Packers.
The Texans, with a competitive veteran roster, dominated the line of scrimmage and mostly controlled the game. The Packers sat 30 veteran players.
Here’s everything we know from the Texans’ win over the Packers:
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Former Packers running back Darius Jackson found some room off the right side of the offensive line and then finished off the run by diving into the end zone, scoring a 25-yard touchdown and giving the Texans a 26-7 lead over the Packers with just over six minutes left in the fourth quarter.
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WR Devin Funchess: The veteran receiver had an impressive return to an NFL field, catching six passes for 70 yards in his first game since 2019.
LB Oren Burks: The fourth-year linebacker was all over the field in the first half, tallying seven tackles, a sack and two tackles for losses. He looked fast playing downhill and on the blitz.
QB Jordan Love: He completed six passes on the Packers’ 88-yard scoring drive in the second quarter, hitting Jace Sternberger for 34 yards on third down and Kylin Hill for 22 yards on a screen pass for the score. His passer rating was 110.4 in the first half.
WR Malik Taylor: He caught five passes, was the first-team gunner on special teams and delivered a nice block on a screen play to Amari Rodgers.
S Vernon Scott: He broke up a pass with a diving deflection in the end zone and had six total tackles, including several at or near the line of scrimmage.
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Jordan Love: He looked comfortable playing from the pocket over his two quarters of action. It wasn’t always perfect, but he got red-hot on the Packers’ lone scoring drive. The offense couldn’t run the ball and protection was inconsistent, complicating his job. Love ended up completing 12 of 17 passes for 122 yards, one touchdown and one lost fumble. The Packers had seven total drives in the first half: Four punts, one touchdown, one fumble and one turnover on downs.
Kurt Benkert: He lost a fumble on a botched exchange with the running back and later threw an interception, but he also completed eight passes for 88 yards, including strikes to Devin Funchess, Malik Taylor and Reggie Begelton. Without a touchdown pass and adding in the late interception, his passer rating was just 53.5.
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– The Packers sat 30 veteran players in the opener. Matt LaFleur wasn’t going to risk anyone important for an exhibition game.
– Jordan Love threw a pretty ball down the seam to Jace Sternberger to convert a third-and-long. The rush was closing in but Love stood tall and delivered a perfect ball over the linebacker to beat the Cover-2.
– Devin Funchess did what he needed to do. He looked like a big, physical and experienced receiver facing smaller and far less experienced cornerbacks. He did go back to the locker room with a trainer late in the second half. Still, it was a strong performance for a receiver fighting for a roster spot.
– Defensive coordinator Joe Barry got Oren Burks playing downhill against the run and as a blitzer, and he flashed as a playmaker. Maybe the light is starting to come on.
– Cornerback Josh Jackson, now in Year 4, got picked on in the first half. The Texans went after him time and time again and typically got completions. It’s getting harder to see a path to the roster for the 2018 second-round pick.
– The offensive line was a disappointment in the first half. Elgton Jenkins, David Bakhtiari and Billy Turner didn’t play, but a starting five with Jon Runyan, Josh Myers, Lucas Patrick and Dennis Kelly should have been better. Left tackle Yosh Nijman struggled; he was responsible for the strip-sack on Love.
– First-round pick Eric Stokes played only a handful of snaps to start the game.
– Rookie T.J. Slaton looked active at nose tackle. He’s a huge man. On a few run plays, he was disruptive. But he also got worn out. The Packers gave him a long look on Saturday night.
– Cornerback Kabion Ento had an interception in the first half, and safety Innis Gaines really should have had a pick early in the second. Ento later had to be examined for a concussion following a collision.
– Rookie undrafted free agent Jack Heflin looks like a carbon copy of Tyler Lancaster. He might be limited as a rusher, but he works his tail off against the run.
– Running back Dexter Williams appeared to have a protection breakdown on a punt, but he did provide some late juice to the run game. He is clearly behind Kylin Hill and Patrick Taylor on the depth chart.
– The special teams were shaky for much of the game. The third unit is usually a discombobulated mess in the first preseason game, but the Packers really need improvement in this area in 2021.
– The Texans ended up rushing for over 170 yards. The Packers needed 32 late rushing yards from Williams to get to 49 total.
#Packers find paydirt! @H_Kylin takes the pass from @jordan3love 22 yards for the TD!#HOUvsGB | #GoPackGo
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📱 https://t.co/bE19jZCodD pic.twitter.com/HPueWzZPsq
— Green Bay Packers (@packers) August 15, 2021
Kylin Hill’s 22-yard touchdown gave the Packers a 7-3 lead in the first half. Hill and Jordan Love played out the fake, setting up the screen, and Hill darted through blockers to find the end zone. The touchdown capped off an 88-yard scoring drive.
New York Jets head coach Robert Saleh greets quarterback Zach Wilson during stretching drills.
In a week’s time, the Packers will welcome first-year head coach Robert Saleh, No. 2 overall pick Zach Wilson and the New York Jets to Lambeau Field for the team’s second of three preseason games. The two teams will hold joint practices in Green Bay on Wednesday and Thursday morning.
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