Roping the Texans

Kelly O’Day photos

Green Bay stayed alive in the playoff hunt with a pair of long touchdown drives in the second half of the Dec. 4 game with Houston, a 98-yarder that was the Packers’ longest since 2009 (12 plays), backed up by an 89-yarder (8 plays). The Aaron Rodgers-to-Jordy Nelson connection came up huge in both drives. Nelson found himself wide open after the defender slipped to the ground on the 32-yard go-ahead TD, and Aaron Ripkowski hammered in the final three yards to give Green Bay a 21-7 lead with 4:11 left in the game.
Houston would answer with the biggest play of the game from Brock Osweiler to DeAndre Hopkins, a 44-yard scoring strike where Hopkins split the defenders after the catch.
Ripkowski scored a rushing TD for the second consecutive game, the only two rushing touchdowns of the season not by Aaron Rodgers in a season where the Packers have been decimated by running back (and defensive back) injuries.
Randall Cobb worked his way open for the initial score and a scrambling Rodgers hit him. Cobb punctuated his play with a snow angel.
The teams accumulated virtually identical yardage and time of possession, but the Packers converted more big plays.