Green Bay Packers quarterback Jordan Love’s pro debut ended before expected. Coach Matt LaFleur said Love “kind of got dinged” while getting sacked by Jonathan Greenard late within the half of the Packers’ 26-7 preseason loss to the Houston Texans on Saturday night. Greenard came from Love’s side and stripped the ball from him to force a fumble. “I got my arm hit thereon play and that I just dinged my shoulder a touch bit,” Love said. LaFleur said he had hoped Love would play three quarters. The 2020 first-round pick from Utah State instead sat out the whole last half. Love expressed confidence he’d be ready for the Packers’ next preseason game.
“It just quite feels a touch ‘strains,’ ” Love said. “We’ll see tomorrow.” Love went 12 of 17 for 122 yards with a touchdown pass in his first game appearance since getting taken 26th overall within the 2020 draft. He went 6 of 6 for 89 yards on a first-quarter drive that ended with Kylin Hill turning a brief completion into a 22-yard touchdown. Green Bay’s offense wasn’t as effective the remainder of the night because the Packers rested virtually all their regulars. “We’ve needed to get them off the sector in third-and-longs, and that we didn’t do an honest job in doing that,” Texans coach David Culley said. “Other than that, i assumed they played specialized team defense.”
Although the circumstances surrounding Green Bay’s Aaron Rodgers and Houston’s Deshaun Watson are two of the NFL’s biggest offseason stories, neither played Saturday because the spotlight shifted to the opposite quarterbacks on each team. Tyrod Taylor, the Texans’ likely starter if Watson isn’t available, went 4 of 4 for 40 yards in his lone series. Taylor led a 53-yard drive that resulted in one of Ka’imi Fairbairn’s four field goals. “We were ready to make some plays, move the ball down the sector,” Taylor said. “Obviously, you would like to end with a touchdown, but anytime you get points, you’ll never be mad that .”
Davis Mills, the Texans’ rookie third-round pick from Stanford, went 11 of twenty-two for 112 yards and an interception while leading two scoring drives. Watson, who had an NFL-leading 4,820 yards passing last season, returned to practice Monday after not participating in workouts for every week. Watson asked for a trade in January before 22 women filed lawsuits alleging that he sexually assaulted or harassed them. Houston police and therefore the NFL is investigating the allegations, but no charges are filed.
LaFleur said in the week Rodgers probably wouldn’t play in the least this preseason, enabling Love and Kurt Benkert to urge the maximum amount of work possible. Rodgers skipped the Packers’ organized team activities and mandatory minicamp as a part of a standoff with team officials, but the three-time MVP reported to training camp on time.
INJURIES Texans receiver Anthony Miller and Packers receiver DeAndre Thompkins left with shoulder injuries. Culley said Miller had a “slight dislocation” and would undergo an MRI.
PLENTY OF MISSING PACKERS The Packers didn’t dress 30 players for Saturday’s game. That included receiver Randall Cobb, who played for the Texans last year. Cobb played for Green Bay from 2011-18. The Packers reacquired him at the beginning of coaching camp at Rodgers’ request.
WELCOME BACK? Rodgers and Cobb didn’t play this weekend, but they still made their presence felt on social media. Rodgers, Cobb, and All-Pro left tackle David Bakhtiari all made posts with an image of former Packers outside linebacker Clay Matthews in a clear plan to campaign for his return to Green Bay. Rodgers’ post even included the message “Bring Him Back.” Matthews played for the Packers from 2009-18 and earned All-Pro honors in 2010. He last played in 2019 with the l. a. Rams.
TEXANS’ MOVES The Texans placed defensive back Bradley Robey and offensive linemen Roderick Johnson, Tytus Howard, and Laremy Tunsil on the reserve/COVID-19 list before the sport.
ODDS AND ENDS Houston’s Scottie Phillips, an undrafted free agent from Mississippi, rushed for 66 yards on 13 carries. … Houston’s Darius Jackson had a 25-yard touchdown run. … Green Bay’s Devin Funchess, who opted out of the 2020 season, caught six passes for 70 yards. … Houston’s Jaleel Johnson recovered two fumbles. … Green Bay’s Kabion Ento and Houston’s Tremon Smith intercepted passes. … Houston’s Jeff Driskel went 1 of 6 for two yards but led three scoring drives. … The Packers were on the sector standing for the anthem. Last season, the Packers remained within the room while the anthem played.