Aaron Rodgers heats up late as Packers down Texans


The Packers (6-6) on Sunday kept their playoff hopes alive with a 21-13 win over the Houston Texans (6-6) at snowy Lambeau Field. Here's what we learned from Green Bay's critical home win:

1. Battling a hamstring injury and Mother Nature, Aaron Rodgers shook off a slow start to throw for 209 yards and two scores -- giving him an outrageous 19 touchdowns since Week 7. The Packers wasted a chance at potential points on their opening drive when a botched snap between Rodgers and his center turned into a lost fumble at Houston's 5-yard line. A talented Texans secondary shut down passing lanes for nearly three quarters until Rodgers authored a pretty 98-yard drive capped by his 32-yard scoring strike to Jordy Nelson (8/118/1). The march -- Aa-Rod's longest since 2009 -- gave the Packers a 14-7 lead they wouldn't lose. On the following drive, Nelson would show incredible focus and hand strength on a 28-yard grab that set up fullback Aaron Ripkowski's game-sealing touchdown to put Green Bay up 21-7.

2. Texans fans can blame the snow. That's their final excuse for a dangerously limited offense that continues to look like one of the worst attacks in the NFL. When Rodgers hit Nelson for the go-ahead score, there was zero sense that Houston's offense would climb back in. Entering Sunday as the NFL's least effective deep thrower, Brock Osweiler missed a handful of deep balls for a scheme painfully centered around tight ends C.J. Fiedorowicz and Ryan Griffin. The Texans quarterback suffered two sacks and five hits from a Packers defense we left for dead two weeks ago. The most encouraging throw all day for Osweiler came on a last-ditch bomb to DeAndre Hopkins, whose 44-yard score marked his first touchdown catch since Week 5.

3. With two monstrous games over the past three weeks, Davante Adams came into Sunday as an obvious focal point of Green Bay's passing attack. The productive wideout was shut out over the first 45 minutes before Rodgers finally found him on the first play of the fourth quarter, a 17-yard grab that set the table for his team's second touchdown.

4. This was a perfect day to grind away with the run, but the Packers don't have the horses to make it happen. Christine Michael notched an unimpressive 19 yards off a team-leading nine carries, but helped the team with a five-yard burst on fourth-and-2 during Green Bay's first touchdown march. This largely unimpressive committee backfield was helped most by receiver/runner Ty Montgomery, who piled up 40 yards off six attempts.

5. This will drive NFL Media's Gregg Rosenthal nuts: Texans coach Bill O'Brien burned through two second-half timeouts with six-plus minutes to play in the third quarter. While it didn't overtly haunt the Texans, too many coaches have mismanaged timeouts this season.

6. Sitting at 6-6, the Packers remain two games behind the Lions with the Seahawks, Bears, Vikings and Lions up next. The Texans remain tied with the Titans atop the AFC South, but it's fair to wonder how long that will last with such massive limitations on offense. A Colts win over the Jets on Monday night would create a three-way tie atop the division, turning Houston's showdown with Indy next week into a massive confrontation.