Texans slip in snow to Packers, lose grip on AFC South
GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) — The Houston Texans slipped and slid over the snow-covered turf at Lambeau Field.
They've also lost their grip on the AFC South following a third straight loss.
Coach Bill O'Brien's team is reeling after falling 21-13 to the Green Bay Packers on Sunday.
“Obviously, we're at a tough stretch right now, three in a row,” he said. “Played OK at times, but obviously not good enough to win.”
The loss dropped Houston to 6-6, tied with idle Tennessee atop the division. Indianapolis is a half-game back and can make it a three-way tie with a win on Monday night over the New York Jets.
The Texans play in a domed stadium, and they don't often play in wintry conditions in the AFC South. The cold, slick field in Green Bay gave both teams problems for most of the afternoon, with many players trading in or altering their regular cleats to get better traction.
The cold-weather Packers found their footing in the fourth quarter on their home field, which fans lovingly refer to as “The Frozen Tundra.”
Texans cornerback Charles James went bare-chested during pregame warmups.
“Green Bay in the cold. Texans up,” he boasted while signing autographs.
James fell to the turf in the fourth quarter, leaving receiver Jordy 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.”
The Packers, meanwhile, were playing in their element.
“In a wet-weather game and a ball that's a little bit slick, you're actually not thinking about overthrowing, you're just thinking about how that ball feels on your hand before you throw it,” Rodgers said in recounting the throw to Nelson.
The score capped a 12-play, 98-yard drive that took 5:20.
“So I was just trying to loosen my grip slightly as I was releasing it to make sure the ball came out right, and thankfully it did,” he said.
The Texans got burned in the snow several other times.
Aaron Ripkoswki's 3-yard touchdown run with 4:11 left that took up eight plays in 89 yards and chewed up another 4:41. That drive included catches of 21 and 28 yards by Nelson.
“Playing in the snow, I know it's no excuses, man, but things happen, so we've just got to let that go and move on to the next game,” safety Corey Moore said.
Nick Novak, who was 18 of 19 on extra-point tries coming in, missed one following DeAndre Hopkins' 44-yard touchdown catch with 1:51 left.
Running back Lamar Miller, who left the game for a part of the first half with a rib injury, said he had to switch to cleats with more studs because he kept slipping. Miller finished with 22 yards on 14 carries.
Weather shouldn't be a factor the next two games, with Houston traveling to Indianapolis next week before hosting Jacksonville. Both games will be in domed stadiums.
“These are games that we have to figure it out,” 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.”