Packers get back to .500, beat Texans 21-13
GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) Randall Cobb slid to a stop on the slick field in the end zone after a 9-yard touchdown pass before adding another move.
It was time for a little more fun in the snow.
The wide receiver caught one of two touchdown passes from Aaron Rodgers, and the Green Bay Packers found their footing in the snow with two fourth-quarter scores to pull away from the Houston Texans for a 21-13 win on Sunday.
Houston (6-6) lost its third straight game and its grip on the AFC South. The Texans are tied with idle Tennessee and a half-game ahead of Indianapolis, which plays the New York Jets on Monday night, for the division lead.
The Packers (6-6) had a much better time after winning their second straight game to return to .500 for the first time in a month. Before Cobb got up in the end zone after his 9-yard touchdown catch in the second quarter, he did a snow angel.
''No, it was spur of the moment,'' Cobb said of his child-like celebration. ''I was sliding and I couldn't get up as fast as I wanted to, so I was like, why not?''
Back in their element in the cold, the Packers have stabilized following a four-game losing streak that dropped them to 4-6. They're tied with Minnesota in second in the NFC North, two games back of Detroit.
Rodgers threw for 209 yards and Jordy Nelson had 118 yards receiving and a score. The Packers' two fourth-quarter touchdowns capped drives of 98 and 89 yards, respectively.
The Texans must regroup again, though weather shouldn't be a factor the next two games. Houston travels to Indianapolis next week before hosting Jacksonville. Both games will be in domed stadiums.
''These are games that we have to figure it out,'' coach Bill O'Brien said. ''If we don't, we're not going to be where we want to be. If we do, we'll have a shot.''
Other notes and takeaways from Sunday's game:
RODGERS' HAMSTRING: Rodgers was 20 of 30. He looked OK after being limited in practice with a left hamstring injury, taking off for a couple runs, though he didn't seem to have his usual mobility on the slippery turf. ''I don't know if you ever come out better than you did coming in, but I feel good about where I'm at,'' Rodgers said. ''I had decent movement and didn't do anything to create a major setback.''
MAKING PROGRESS: Quarterback Brock Osweiler has faced heat for the Texans' offensive struggles this season. He was composed in the second half in leading Houston on 10-play, 63-yard drive that ended with a 6-yard touchdown pass to Ryan Griffin on fourth-and-1 to tie it at 7 with 7:32 left in the third quarter.
Osweiler finished 22 of 35 for 202 yards.
''Look, I thought he battled. It was a tough environment as far as weather and things like that,'' O'Brien said. ''He was pressured a few times, hung in there and played tough. I thought he battled all day.''
MATTHEWS IN THE MIDDLE: Clay Matthews seemed to be on a limited snap count coming back from a shoulder injury sustained last week against Philadelphia. But the long-haired linebacker gave a depleted position a boost by helping to fill in at inside linebacker. Starter Blake Martinez is still out with a knee injury. Jake Ryan returned after a two-game absence because of an ankle injury, but had to get the ankle re-taped in the first half.
''Any impact to it was pretty painful,'' Matthews said. ''But no worse for the wear if I'm trying to be an optimist here. Hopefully next week, it's that much better.''
SNOW DOWN: Texans cornerback Charles James went bare-chested during pregame warmups. ''Green Bay in the cold. Texans up,'' he boasted while signing autographs.
But James slipped to the turf in the fourth quarter, leaving Nelson wide open in the end zone for a 32-yard touchdown pass that gave the Packers the lead for good, 14-7.
''I don't want to make any excuses, you know what I mean?'' James said. ''That's what you get paid for to stay up there in inclement weather and go out there and be at your best.''
INJURY REPORT: Texans: WR Braxton Miller left with a shoulder injury after being driven to the cold turf by safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix in the second quarter on an incompletion. ... LB Nick Perry, who leads the team with eight sacks, returned with his left hand heavily wrapped after missing most of the first half with the injury.
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