On a snowy Sunday afternoon at Lambeau Field, the Green Bay Packers stayed alive in the NFC North with a victory over the Houston Texans. Green Bay got a huge game from Jordy Nelson and found just enough success in the running game to keep Houston's defense honest in the second half as they improved to 6-6 on the season.
Nelson had eight receptions for 118 yards on the day and he caught the touchdown that put the Packers on top for good. Meanwhile, Aaron Rodgers fought through a slow start to end with over 200 passing yards.
Heres how it happened.
The Texans received the opening kickoff and quickly drove down to midfield. On 3rd down, Brock Osweiler completed a pass to C.j. Fiedorowicz, who was hit hard by Quinten Rollins and LaDarius Gunter. They popped the football out and Morgan Burnett scooped it and returned it deep into Texans territory.
Aaron Rodgers picked up an early 3rd down on a pass to Jared Cook. However, they gave the ball back to Houston a few plays later when Rodgers fumbled the snap from Corey Linsley and Houston recovered at their own 5.
The Packers forced a punt on the next series, as Burnett laid a hit on Osweiler that forced an incomplete pass on 3rd down. However, a 3 and out by the offense set up the Texans at their own 20 following a touch back on Jacob Schum's punt.
The Texans drive out to midfield again, aided by a couple of Osweiler scrambles on third downs to move the chains. The Packers got a stop on a 4th and 1, as Datone Jones, Joe Thomas, and Ha Ha Clinton-Dix stuffed a run attempt up the middle.
The Packers put Christine Michael to work immediately thereafter, as he picked up a gain of 8 on first down and rumbled to move the chains on 4th and 1. Following a few completed passes by Rodgers, he rolled to his right and found Randall Cobb across the back of the end zone for the games first touchdown, a 9 yards that gave the Packers a 7-0 lead.
Dean Lowry's first career sack led to a punt on the next defensive series, and a nice return by Cobb set up the Packers near the 40. Unfortunately they went 3 and out and punted, pinning Houston at their own 10. Another 3 and out for the Texans set the Packers up with the ball with a few minutes left in the half.
Another three and out gave the Texans the ball back inside the 2 minute warning, but the Packers were able to get a sack from Julius Peppers to stop the threat and finally keep an opponent from scoring late in the first half.
The Packers went 3 and out to start the half, and the Texans struck back quickly. Osweiler completed some big passes to Fiedorowicz and DeAndre Hopkins before throwing a short touchdown to Ryan Griffin on 4th and 1. That tied the game at 7.
After a great kickoff return by Ty Montgomery, the Packers picked up a few yards and went for it on 4th and 2 just past midfield. Aaron Ripkowski was stopped just short of the yardage to gain and Houston took over on downs. A drop by Hopkins on 2nd down and an overthrow by Osweiler on 3rd led to another punt.
Starting from the one, the Packers moved the ball well. Davante Adams picked up a big gain up the sideline and Rodgers scrambles for another first down. Rodgers then found a wide open Jordy Nelson for a 32-yard touchdown, giving the Packers a 14-7 lead.
The Packers defense held on the ensuing series, and creative Mike McCarthy arrived. After Jordy Nelson made an impressive contested catch, McCarthy reached into the depths of his playbook for an end around to Jeff Janis, which picked up 19 yards and set the Packers up at the 3. Aaron Ripkowski took it into the end zone on the next play for a two-touchdown lead.
Osweiler hooked up with Hopkins for a touchdown on the ensuing drive, cutting the lead to one possession. However, a missed PAT kept the lead at 8, 21-13.
The Packers recovered the ensuing inside kick and ran the clock down to under 10 second when Houston got the ball back, and their multiple lateral play ended in amusing, unsuccessful fashion.