*HOUSTON -- **It started as the Texans' most highly anticipated game of the season and through four quarters, the game certainly lived up to those standards. In the end, it was the Packers who came out on top, grabbing their fifth straight win of 2004. It was a heartbreaker for the Texans, who fought tooth and nail for 60 minutes only to lose in the final seconds on a 46-yard Ryan Longwell field goal.
"First of all, let me credit the Green Bay Packers," a disappointed Dom Capers
said after the game. "We knew coming in tonight we were playing a team that was
one of the hottest teams in the NFL.
"I think our guys came out and fought the whole way to the end. To beat a team like Green Bay, you have to out-execute them."
The Texans hosted the Green Bay Packers for both team's first-ever meeting in front of a record Reliant Stadium crowd of 70,769. The Texans dropped to a 4-6 overall record in the franchises second-ever nationally televised game, the last being the Texans inaugural season opener agianst the Dallas Cowboys in 2002.
The Texans finished with 251 yards of total offense while the Packers generated
473 yards inluding 383 in the air. Texans QB David Carr finished with 164 yards and a touchdown. Packers signal-caller Brett Favre threw
for 383 yards and a touchdown.
The Packers won the coin toss and elected to receive as Favre started to march his offensive troops into Houston territory. Favre found Javon Walker for a 15-yard strike and a first down. Five-yard completions to Walter Williams and Donald Driver put the Packers at the Houston 49. But on 3rd and 3, Texans CB Dunta Robinson got a piece of Favre's intended pass for Antonio Chatman and Longwell came in to attempt a 49-yarder, but the kick was no good and Houston took over on its own 31. It was only the third time this season that Longwell hasn't split the uprights. Leaving the field on the drive for the Packers was RB Ahman Green who suffered a rib injury.
Carr found WR Andre Johnson on a 20-yarder as Johnson drug Packers CB Al Harris for a few yards after the catch. Three plays later, Carr found WR Jabar Gaffney on a reverse and Gaffney gained another six. The Texans offense wasn't able to cross the goal line and Kris Brown missed his 40-yard field goal attempt and the game remained scoreless.
Houston's defense was able to force a punt on Green Bay's next try as the Texans offense took the field again looking to score the first points of the game. Carr connected with WR Derick Armstrong on a 39-yard strike, but the drive didn't get much further and the Texans punted as the first quarter came to a close.
The Packers started another high-octane possession. Favre gunned one down the middle to Driver for a 50-yard gain, placing Green Bay at the Texans 10-yard line. But Houston's defense was able to keep a hungry Pack out of the end zone. Longwell booted a 23-yarder and Green Bay took a 3-0 lead.
Carr and the gang were not to be outdone though. RB Domanick Davis picked up runs of three and four yards. Carr then found Johnson open on a crossing route and Johnson scurried 49 yards to the six-yard line. It was the second-longest reception for Johnson, his longest, a 54-yard touchdown, came earlier this season in Detroit.
One play later, Carr found a wide-open Davis in the end zone to give Houston a 7-3 lead. Davis' first-ever career receiving touchdown capped a 62-yard scoring drive that took 1:58 seconds.
Favre fired back, hitting WR Robert Ferguson on a 17-yarder. Favre fired off another one to Ferguson but his diving catch was ruled incomplete. The Packers challenged and the call was overturned and Ferguson's 20-yard catch to give Green Bay a first. But the drive stalled and Houston got another chance.
Davis gained 31 yards on three runs and a reception to help put Brown in field goal range. On his second try of the night, Brown nailed his 46-yard kick through the uprights to extend Houston's lead 10-3.
The Packers were stopped again by Houston's defense and return man J.J. Moses went back to field Bryan Barker's punt. Moses put his teammates in good position, racing back for a 27-yard return to the Houston 47. The Texans offense took over with under a minute remaining in the half. Carr got the ball rolling when he scampered for 24 yards in the open field. It was his longest run of the season, placing the Texans at the Packers 29. Three plays later, Brown hit his second field goal of the day, a 40-yarder to give the Texans a 13-3 lead at halftime.
Carr found Johnson on a 20-yarder to kick off the second half of play, putting him just five yards away from 100. But the Texans punted three plays later and Green Bay's offense went to work.
Barker came in for punting duties, but the Packers offense quickly regained possession of the ball after Houston was penalized for having 12 men on the field, giving Green Bay a first down at the Houston 49.
The Texans defense returned to their posts but didn't plan on staying there very long. Favre's first pass intended for Javon Walker was picked off by CB Aaron Glenn, his fourth of the season and 34th of his career.
Houston took over at their own 16 and started chipping away while trying to get out of dangerous territory.Carr found Johnson on an 11-yarder, catapulting him over the 100-yard mark for the night.
But the Texans punted soon after and the Packers offense got the ball back with just under five minutes in the third quarter. The Packers were only able to get the ball out to their own 17 before punting back to Houston.
But Green Bay's defense came at Houston's unit full throttle. Gaffney reeled in a nine-yarder before Davis rambled for another 11 on the ground. That was all the Texans would gain though. Johnson was stuffed on a reverse for a minus-nine yards and Carr was sacked on the next play by Packers DE Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila for an 11-yard loss.
Chad Stanley came in and punted a 35-yarder to the Packers 19, his third of four punts that landed inside the 20. The Packers offense came to life at the beginning of the fourth quarter. Favre and his receivers gave the Texans a few fits, first hitting Driver for a 12-yard pass before Ferguson added another 23-yarder. TE Bubba Franks caught his second pass of the night, hauling in a 27-yard ball to put the Packers at the Houston 24.
Favre then found Driver in the back left corner of the end zone where he made a leaping catch for Green Bay's first touchdown of the night. Driver's snag narrowed Houston's lead 13-10.
The Texans were forced three-and-out on the ensuing series and Green Bay got set to fire again. Favre connected with Driver for nine yards and RB Tony Fisher ran for 10 more. On 3rd and 16, Favre saw Driver again down the middle, but the completion came up a yard short and Longwell came in and booted a 39-yarder to tie the score at 13 with just under eight minutes remaining.
The Texans had a crucial series ahead, but Green Bay's defense stepped up and forced another three-and-out and the Packers threatened again. Driver caught a 10-yarder and three plays later, Favre ran for another 17 yards. Robinson cut the drive short when he made an over-the-shoulder interception off of Favre's intended bomb to Chatman. It was Robinson's fourth pick of the season.
The Texans had another scoring shot but punted their chance away and the Packers took over again. The Packers began marching towards the end zone, crossing into Houston territory with 38 seconds remaining in the game. On 3rd and 7, Favre hit Driver on a 12-yard reception for a first down at the Texans 28. Wiht just four seconds remaining on the game clock, Longwell came in to attempt a 46-yard game-winnig field goal.
Longwell's kick sailed through the uprights and the Texans dropped a heartbreaking, 16-13 loss.
The Texans will get back to work Monday in preparation for the Tennessee Titans, who will travel to play in Reliant Stadium next Sunday.
"We've got six games to go and we're going to do everything we can to get ready for each of those six games," Capers said.