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Houston Texans

Texans beat Packers 24-21


Running back Steve Slaton is off to another strong performance against Green Bay.

GREEN BAY, Wis. – The Texans learned how tough they were Sunday by overcoming four turnovers and the coldest weather in team history to beat the Green Bay Packers and stretch their win streak to three games.

Kris Brown's 40-yard field goal as time expired clinched the 24-21 character-defining win in the Texans' first-ever trip to Lambeau Field.

"It's pretty special," coach Gary Kubiak said of Brown's kick. "With what wind there was, we felt like we were going in the right direction in the fourth quarter. That's the way Kris wanted to go. He asked to kick in the other direction to start the second half, so he was confident right there and drilled it right down the middle."

Brown, who made three field goals, has 11 career game-winning kicks, including eight with the Texans.

"It is one of those things where you just get out there and go through your routine, pick a target out and just hit it as smooth as you can," he said. "Most of the time when it comes off my foot I have a pretty good idea if it is good or not. It came off my foot and I knew right away that it was good."

The temperature at kickoff was three degrees, which is nine degrees cooler than the second-coldest game in team history at Chicago on Dec. 19, 2004, which the Texans won 24-5. Sunday's game at Green Bay was so cold that the field crew had to rake off ice and snow from the grass to clear the playing surface during pregame warm-ups. The game equaled the fifth-coldest in Lambeau Field history, which dates back to 1957.

But the freezing weather didn't seem to affect quarterback Matt Schaub, who seemed oblivious to the conditions in his first game back since tearing his MCL at Minnesota Nov. 2. Schaub torched the Packers' secondary for a career-high and franchise-record 414 passing yards with two touchdowns and one interception.

"Going into it, you get your mind right and you know what to expect," Schaub said about the weather. "I think the good thing about today was that it was a great day for football. Sure it was cold, but being up here luckily we were fortunate that there wasn't wind blowing. It wasn't blowing too badly, so we were able to throw the ball around and beat man coverage. The offensive line did a great job of owning the line of scrimmage."

{QUOTE}Schaub's favorite target, wide receiver Kevin Walter, caught six passes for a season-high 146 yards with his eighth touchdown reception, tying the franchise single-season record. On the other side, wide receiver Andre Johnson contributed an 11-yard touchdown and had 55 receiving yards on four catches, giving him a career-high 1,201 receiving yards on the season.

Without missing a beat after his sensational performance on Monday Night Football, rookie running back Steve Slaton surpassed the 1,000-yard rushing mark this season by finishing with a game-high 120 yards on 26 carries (4.6 avg.) along with 40 receiving yards on three catches.

As gaudy as the offensive numbers appear, the Texans' defense was even more impressive. Defensive coordinator Richard Smith's unit limited the Packers to only one third down conversion on 10 attempts, which led to eight punts, the most by a Texans' opponent all season. The Packers, who had three three-and-out possessions in the game, scored only off Houston turnovers.

The most important defensive series came with less than two minutes remaining in the game and the score tied 21-21. Wide receiver Donald Driver's 59-yard catch helped the Packers march all the way to the Houston 22, but a 10-yard holding penalty on Green Bay followed by linebacker DeMeco Ryans' sack for a nine-yard loss on third down pushed the Packers out of field goal range on fourth down.

"We had a blitz with me and the defensive back coming up the middle and we made the center pick one of us," Ryans said. "I looked up at the (play) clock and there was like three seconds left and I knew he had to snap the ball, so I just timed it up. He slid to the defensive back so I was clean to take him down."

After Green Bay punted to the Texans' three-yard line, Schaub drove the offense 74 yards on nine plays over 1:49. His 22-yard pass to fullback Vonta Leach and 27-yard completion to tight end Owen Daniels set up the game-winning kick.

"I just think right now that we are battling like heck," Kubiak said. "We are a football team that got off to a very bad start this year. We are out there battling for respect, trying to become a good football team. The effort on our football right now is tremendous, just watching them push each other."

The Texans received the opening kickoff and picked up where they left off against Jacksonville. On his second pass of the game, Schaub threw a 58-yard touchdown to Walter, who came back for the ball and ran past safety Nick Collins to silence the crowd.

It was not until 6:36 remaining in the first quarter that Green Bay completed its first pass when quarterback Aaron Rodgers found wide receiver Jordy Nelson open for a 10-yard gain on third-and-20 from their 21-yard line.

On the Texans' fourth possession of the game, Slaton gained 34 yards to the Green Bay 30, giving him a franchise-record 69 rushing yards in the first quarter. Two plays later, Johnson made a 19-yard reception to the 11-yard line, but the Packers took over at the three-yard line on the next play when Daniels was stripped by linebacker Desmond Bishop.

Rodgers made quick work of the Texans' secondary by completing three consecutive passes for 34 yards to move Green Bay to the Houston 46. But defensive end Tim Bulman sacked Rodgers for a seven-yard loss on third-and-five from the Houston 41 to force another punt.

A 13-yard reception by Slaton moved the Texans out of their red zone. Two plays later, Schaub's pass intended for André Davis was intercepted by cornerback Tramon Williams, who returned the takeaway five yards to the Houston 23. After a short run on first down, Rodgers threw a 20-yard touchdown to tight end Donald Lee to help even the score 7-7 with 5:07 remaining in the first half.

After Schaub's flawless play action fake on the first play of the next series, he threw a 46-yard bomb to Walter, who made a falling catch at the Green Bay 25. On third-and-seven at the 11-yard line, Schaub rolled to his right under pressure and threw the ball out of bounds. Kris Brown's 30-yard field goal gave Houston a 10-7 lead with 1:50 remaining before halftime.

Cornerback Will Blackmon returned the ensuing kickoff 99 yards for a touchdown, but defensive end Jason Hunter was penalized for holding, which moved the Packers back to their 17-yard line. Rodgers passed 25 yards to Lee on second down to approach midfield, but a few plays later cornerback Dunta Robinson picked off Rodgers' pass at the Houston 40 for no gain.

With 33 seconds left in the first half, Schaub completed passes to Johnson and Daniels before Slaton made a 21-yard catch to the Green Bay 23 and stepped out of bounds with one second on the clock. But Brown missed wide right on a 41-yard field goal attempt to end the first half with Houston maintaining a 10-7 lead.

The Packers went three-and-out on the opening drive of the second half, leading to solid field position for Houston at their 32 yard-line. Leach put Houston in scoring range with a 21-yard catch. Another 15 yards were added to the play because of a face mask penalty on Bishop. After Daniels' five-yard catch, Brown nailed a 41-yard field goal to make the score 13-7.

In a surprising turn of events with 4:43 left in the third quarter, the Texans lined up in punt formation and Matt Turk caught the snap but decided to run off the right end on what appeared to be an improvised fake. He gained 18 yards to the Packers' 47-yard line to extend the drive to the surprise of the entire team.

With the added momentum, Schaub completed passes to Johnson and Walter for 33 total yards inside the red zone, but Slaton had his first-career fumble after being stripped by defensive end Michael Montgomery at the 18-yard line.

Moments later, Rodgers tossed a 63-yard bomb to wide receiver Greg Jennings to give the Packers a first down at the six-yard line at the end of the third quarter. Running back Ryan Grant rushed off the right tackle for a touchdown on the next snap to give Green Bay a 14-13 lead after Mason Crosby's extra point.

Schaub proceeded to complete five passes for 55 yards, including an 11-yard touchdown to Johnson that put Houston ahead 21-14 after Johnson made another remarkable catch on the team's first two-point conversion of the season. Packers coach Mike McCarthy challenged that Johnson did not have two feet down inbounds on his two-point catch, but the play stood after review.

With 9:14 left in the game, the Texans forced a crucial three-and-out at the Packers' 18-yard line, but Jones muffed the ensuing punt, and Green Bay recovered the loose ball at their 49-yard line. Grant put the offense into scoring range with a 22-yard gain followed by a nine-yard rush to the Houston 11. Rodgers capped the series with a nine-yard touchdown pass to Nelson.

With the game tied 21-21 with 4:37 on the game clock, Green Bay mounted the potential go-ahead drive that ended in a punt to the Texans' three-yard line.

From there, Schaub took over in one of the most memorable game-winning drives in franchise history.

The Texans can make more history next Sunday at Reliant Stadium against the rival Tennessee Titans, who stand in the way of the club's first-ever four-game winning streak.

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