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Butler: A Priceless Victory


Man, what a game. Just like I try to tell you guys each week, you've got to be patient because it may be like this all year, where the Packers start slow and eventually win the game.

To go and score 13 points in the fourth quarter - the end of that game was just phenomenal.

But look at it this way:

Donald Driver - 10 catches, 148 yards and a touchdown.

Javon Walker - 9 catches, 88 yards.

Brett Favre - 50 attempts, completed 33, 383 yards.

Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila - 2 sacks.

Winning on Ryan Longwell's right foot again - priceless.

It just seemed like it was set up to be a great finish. Being down 13-3 at the half, I'm sure a lot of you were going to the kitchen and slamming the refrigerator, eating in the kitchen and refusing to watch the game.

But the loyal fans that I know you are, you came back and saw the Packers defense not only turn it around, but pitch a shutout in the second half. That let everybody know that this defense will be fighting all season long.

Al Harris had one of the better games I've seen this year. Statistically, you might look and see that Andre Johnson had 6 catches for 107 yards, but he would have had well over 12 catches for probably 200 yards if Harris hadn't been so tough on him at the line of scrimmage.

I think Al was probably the player of the game on defense because there could have been a number of big plays by Johnson if Harris hadn't been in position to break them up.

Harris has been playing phenomenally, especially since the bye week, not to mention the rookie Ahmad Carroll, who has made some very good plays. For some reason, teams don't seem to be going after Carroll, even though he's a rookie. They keep trying to go after Harris, and if they continue to try that, Al is going to end up in the Pro Bowl since he's playing that well.

To get more into the game, the offense had a slow start, but the injuries are killing the Packers at this point. The depth of this team was one of the things that has always been a strength of this team, and it saved them again Sunday.

Ahman Green went down with a rib injury. Walter Williams came in and made some very good runs, but then he went out with an ankle injury. That left everything up to Tony Fisher. He's normally a third down specialist, but then he had to be in there on first, second and third downs.

Then Nick Luchey goes out with an injured shoulder, which really limited the number of formations the Packers could run. A lot of their sets are designed around which fullback is in the game, but the Packers persevered with only Fisher and William Henderson available in the backfield and got the job done.

William Henderson continues to make phenomenal plays. The catch that he made in the fourth quarter - I just don't know how he does it. He made a great catch and ran for a 20-yard gain, which was one of the better plays of the game.

The offensive line continued to play well in a loud stadium, once again keeping Brett Favre from being sacked all night. They gave him plenty of time to make all the throws he needed to make.

Brett carried this game on his shoulders. He was without Ahman Green, but he has proven that he can still lead this team to victory in any situation.

I can't say enough about Donald Driver and Javon Walker. They are right now two of the hottest receivers in the NFL. Everything they're doing now is very, very good. They're blocking in the running game, they're catching a lot of passes, and they're getting in position to make big plays.

One thing that concerned me in the game was the amount of penalties. I didn't think there was any way the Packers could be in double figures in penalties on the road and still win the game. If they could have cut their penalties in half, I think they would have blown the Texans out.

I thought that although the defense didn't start off real quick, they played absolutely great in the second half. They only allowed Houston 58 yards and three first downs after halftime.

I've said it time and time again that Kabeer is a second half of the season player. To go in there and dominate the way he did, picking up two sacks for the second straight week, was exceptional. He's the kind of leader that this team is going to have to have for this stretch run.

Bhawoh Jue continued to impress me. He showed some great range, he made some tackles, and he's starting to get a good feel for the secondary as he's playing a lot while Darren Sharper gets back to full strength.

I talked about the corners - they're playing aggressive in bump-and-run throwing the timing of the receivers off, and the front seven just dominated the run in this game.

Na'il Diggs played the best game I've seen him play in a while. He was very aggressive at the point of attack and made some very good tackles in bottling up Domanick Davis for most of the night.

A lot of people might ask, 'Who's Domanick Davis?' but he did run for almost 1,100 yards last year and was the Offensive Rookie of the Year.

The Green Bay Packers' front seven just took away the run and won the physical part of the game.

I think this game shows teams around the league that the Packers are starting to hit their groove. Even though they didn't have everything clicking, they still found a way to fight out a tough win on the road.

Look for this team to keep up the tough play and win many more games this year, no matter what they have to do to get those victories.

*LeRoy Butler played 12 seasons for the Green Bay Packers, helping them to two Super Bowls and earning NFL All-Decade Honors for the 1990s, before retiring in July 2002. This season Butler is again providing exclusive analysis to beginning with training camp and later with a breakdown of the upcoming game on Saturdays, followed by a column and Q&A session on Tuesdays during the preseason and regular season.

Butler's autobiography, 'The LeRoy Butler Story ... From Wheelchair to the Lambeau Leap,' is available on his website,

LeRoy serves as the host on the new DVD, 'Brett Favre - On and Off the Field'. Click here for more information on the DVD.*

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