Houston, TX – Aaron Rodgers tied a franchise record with six touchdown passes and Green Bay looked like the Packers of old with a 42-24 rout of the previously unbeaten Houston Texans on Sunday night.
Rodgers completed 24-of-37 passes for 338 yards for the Packers (3-3), who bounced back from a tough 30-27 loss to the Indianapolis Colts last week.
"This was an important game for us. We've had a couple not go our way," Rodgers said. "2-4 would have been very difficult. We've got a tough stretch still to play."
Jordy Nelson caught nine passes for 121 yards and three touchdowns for Green Bay, which racked up 427 yards of total offense. Randall Cobb hauled in seven passes for 102 yards, James Jones caught a pair of TD passes and Tom Crabtree hauled in two passes for 62 yards and a score.
Alex Green got the start at running back with Cedric Benson out with a left foot injury. Green carried the ball 22 times for 65 yards.
Matt Schaub connected on 20-of-33 passes for 232 yards and two interceptions for the Texans (5-1), who came into Sunday as one of the two remaining undefeated teams in 2012. The Atlanta Falcons beat the Oakland Raiders earlier Sunday to improve to 6-0.
Arian Foster carried the ball 17 times for 29 yards and two touchdowns for Houston, which will welcome the Baltimore Ravens (5-1) to town next Sunday.
"The good thing is it only counts as one," Schaub said. "So we have to refocus tomorrow, watch the film, be hard on ourselves and go out and correct the mistakes that we made to go out and get ready for Baltimore."
Green Bay's first possession of the game was extended due to an offside penalty on Houston. The Packers punted the ball away on 4th-and-3 from the 46 of the Texans, but DeVier Posey drew the flag for a defensive offside. Rodgers made the home team pay on the next play, finding Nelson down the right sideline for a 41-yard score.
The Packers scored another touchdown later in the first quarter to make it a 14-0 game. Cobb caught a 24-yard pass on the first play of the drive, moving the ball to the Houston 32. After advancing to the 6-yard line, Rodgers found Jones in the right side of the end zone with 24 seconds to go.
The Texans, who failed to move the ball past their own 33 in the first stanza, got on the board early in the second period. Faced with a 3rd-and-3, Kevin Walter hauled in a 16-yard pass to move the ball into Green Bay territory. A 26-yard defensive pass interference penalty put the ball at the 4-yard line, setting up Foster's 1-yard TD run.
But the Packers responded with a touchdown of their own. Green Bay converted a pair of third downs on the 78-yard drive that was aided by a 28-yard defensive pass interference penalty. With the ball at the Houston 21, Rodgers found Nelson in the end zone to make it 21-7 with 6:45 left in the second quarter.
Shayne Graham's 51-yard field goal on the Texans' ensuing possession cut the gap to 21-10 at the break.
Green Bay opened the second half with a 16-play, 80-yard drive that took 6:44 off the clock. Nelson caught passes of 16 and 13 yards to move the ball to the Houston 11-yard line. Rodgers then scrambled up the middle for a touchdown, but it was nullified because of an offensive holding penalty.
However, another mistake by the Texans occurred while the Packers lined up for a field goal. Connor Barwin was called for leaping, giving the visitors a first down at the 11. On 3rd-and-14, Houston safety Danieal Manning was called for unnecessary roughness after Cobb caught an 11-yard pass. Rodgers then threw a perfect pass to Nelson in the right side of the end zone for a 1-yard score.
Following a punt from each team, the Texans started at their own 35. Owen Daniels and Keshawn Martin caught passes of 27 and 12 yards, respectively, to help move the ball to the 1-yard line. Foster ran into the end zone from there to cut the gap to 28-17 with 17 seconds remaining in the third quarter.
But the Packers quickly took the momentum back. Cobb returned the ensuing kickoff 46 yards to the Green Bay 43. On 3rd-and-1, Rodgers rolled to his right and found a wide open Crabtree for a 48-yard score early in the fourth period.
The first turnover of the game followed, as Sam Shields picked off Schaub at the Houston 27-yard line. After running the ball three times, Rodgers hooked up with Jones for an 18-yard score. Jones made a nice one-handed grab in the end zone to extend Green Bay's margin to 42-17 with 12:16 to play.
Posey recovered a blocked punt in the end zone to account for the final margin.
The Packers lead the all-time series by a 2-1 margin ... Rodgers tied Matt Flynn's record for TD passes in a game, set in last year's regular-season finale against Detroit ... Wide receiver Greg Jennings and nose tackle B.J. Raji were inactive for the Packers ... Benson was placed on injured reserve/designated for return earlier this week ... Texans defensive end Tim Jamison (Achilles) and guard Antoine Caldwell (concussion) left the game ... Packers linebacker D.J. Smith and running back Brandon Saine left with knee injuries ... Houston placed linebacker Brian Cushing on IR earlier this week after he tore his ACL in a 23-17 win over the New York Jets on Monday night ... Andre Johnson caught eight passes for 75 yards for the Texans.