Houston • This is more like it for Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers.
The reigning MVP set a career high and tied a franchise record with six touchdown passes, and the Packers played their best game of their so far inconsistent season, beating previously unbeaten Houston 42-24 on Sunday night.
Jordy Nelson caught three touchdown passes and James Jones had two, including a beautiful, diving one-hander in the fourth quarter for the Packers (3-3). Tight end Tom Crabtree had the other, a 48-yarder that Rodgers released just before taking a hit from Texans' outside linebacker Brooks Reed.
Rodgers completed 24 of 37 passes for 338 yards. He tied Matt Flynn's game record for TD passes, set in last year's regular-season finale against Detroit with Rodgers resting on the sideline in advance of the playoffs.
The Packers heard criticism from fans in Green Bay all week after blowing a 21-3 halftime lead to the Indianapolis Colts last week. Another loss would have dropped them to 2-4 for the first time since 2006, and they missed the playoffs that season.
Instead, they put themselves right back in the thick of their divisional race.
"This was an important game for us," Rodgers said. "We had a couple not go our way, games we should have won and 2-4 would have been very difficult."
Arian Foster scored two touchdowns, but ran for only 29 yards for the Texans (5-1). The loss leaves the Atlanta Falcons (6-0) as the only unbeaten team in the NFL.
Houston badly missed star linebacker Brian Cushing, who was placed on injured reserve after tearing a knee ligament in last week's 23-17 win over the Jets.
But there was more to the Texans' collapse than just that.
Rookie DeVier Posey lined up offside on a Green Bay punt, resulting in a Packers' first down. Rodgers then lofted a perfect pass to Nelson over the shoulder of cornerback Johnathan Joseph for a 41-yard touchdown, stunning the noisy crowd. Packers 42,Texans 24
Green Bay 14 7 7 14 42
Houston 0 10 7 7 24
GB • Nelson 41 pass from Rodgers (Crosby kick), 11:34.
GB • Ja.Jones 6 pass from Rodgers (Crosby kick), :24.
Hou • Foster 1 run (S.Graham kick), 10:13.
GB • Nelson 21 pass from Rodgers (Crosby kick), 6:45.
Hou • FG S.Graham 51, 2:15.
GB • Nelson 1 pass from Rodgers (Crosby kick), 8:16.
Hou • Foster 1 run (S.Graham kick), :17.
GB • Crabtree 48 pass from Rodgers (Crosby kick), 14:46.
GB • Ja.Jones 18 pass from Rodgers (Crosby kick), 12:16.
Hou • Posey blocked punt recovery in end zone (S.Graham kick), 5:30.
First downs 25 23
Total Net Yards 427 321
Rushes-yards 31-99 28-90
Passing 328 231
Punt Returns 3-23 1-19
Kickoff Returns 3-86 3-65
Interceptions Ret. 3-37 0-0
Comp-Att-Int 24-37-0 22-38-3
Sacked-Yards Lost 2-10 3-24
Punts 5-34.2 4-51.5
Fumbles-Lost 0-0 1-0
Penalties-yards 4-51 7-69
Time of Possession 27:59 32:01
Rushing • Green Bay, Green 22-65, Rodgers 2-17, Starks 5-11, Kuhn 2-6. Houston, Forsett 7-47, Foster 17-29, Tate 3-14, Schaub 1-0.
Passing • Green Bay, Rodgers 24-37-0-338. Houston, Schaub 20-33-2-232, Yates 2-5-1-23.
Receiving • Green Bay, Nelson 9-121, Cobb 7-102, Ja.Jones 3-33, Crabtree 2-62, Finley 2-12, Green 1-8. Houston, Johnson 8-75, Daniels 3-46, G.Graham 3-25, Walter 2-28, Casey 2-27, Martin 2-24, Forsett 1-18, Foster 1-12.