GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP)—Matt Schaub certainly didn’t look like a guy whose knee wasn’t healthy enough for him to play just six days ago.
Schaub returned from a four-game absence to throw for a career-high 414 yards in the Houston Texans’ 24-21 victory over the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field on Sunday. He also led a final drive to set up Kris Brown’s 40-yard field goal on the last play of the game.
Schaub’s knee even held up under the intense celebration afterward.
“Kris jumped on me and just held on and I said, ‘Come on, we’ve got more guys to celebrate with,”’ Schaub said. “It was just excitement, one of those team wins. You just want to go around and give everyone a hug.”
After sitting out the Texans’ (6-8) victory over Jacksonville on Monday night, Schaub returned Sunday to play with a brace on his left knee—but his mobility certainly didn’t suffer. He made big plays on rollouts and bootlegs all afternoon, completing passes to eight receivers.
Of course, it’s possible that the 3-degree temperature at kickoff might have numbed Schaub’s knee to the point where he couldn’t feel it.
“All in all, we hung with the cold weather good,” said fullback Vonta Leach, a former Packers player who had a key reception on the final drive. “We came down here, put up a lot of yards and a lot of points.”
And how: The Texans racked up 549 yards of total offense.
Green Bay’s third straight loss makes it highly unlikely that the Packers (5-8) will be back in the playoffs this year, even in the mediocre NFC North. And it came in strikingly similar fashion to last Sunday’s late-game giveaway to Carolina at Lambeau.
“The big play’s kind of something that’s been lingering of late,” Packers coach Mike McCarthy said.
It was Green Bay’s fifth loss by four points or fewer this season.
“The frustrating part is, it’s been right there in front of us,” Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers said. “We’ve had the opportunity to execute and finish those games off and we haven’t.”
The Texans won despite committing four turnovers, perhaps the byproduct of a warm-weather team playing in just-above-zero conditions.
“Our group had every reason at some point to fold with the turnovers hurting us,” Texans coach Gary Kubiak said. “But this group is made of a lot of character and it’s as good a win as I’ve ever been around.”
Texans rookie running back Steve Slaton rushed for 120 yards and caught three passes for 40 yards, a continuation of his 130-yard, two-touchdown performance against Jacksonville.
Rodgers was 19 of 30 for 295 yards for Green Bay, with two touchdowns and an interception. Ryan Grant rushed for 104 yards and a touchdown.
After a fumble by Slaton led to a 6-yard touchdown run by Grant to give the Packers a 14-13 lead early in the fourth quarter, the Texans answered with a scoring drive.
Schaub nimbly rolled to his left and threw an 11-yard touchdown pass to Andre Johnson to retake the lead. Then Schaub rolled to his right to hit Johnson again on a 2-point conversion attempt, putting Houston ahead 21-14 with 10:05 remaining.
“Then all the rest of that stuff happened,” Rodgers said.
New Packers punter Jeremy Kapinos pinned the Texans at their own 3 with less than two minutes left, but Schaub hit Leach, wide receiver David Anderson and tight end Owen Daniels for big gains to set up Brown’s field goal as time expired.
“It came off my foot and I knew right away it was good,” Brown said.
McCarthy said RT Mark Tauscher sustained a “significant” knee injury. … The Packers were 1-for-10 on third-down conversions. … Houston punter Matt Turk turned a potential blocked punt into an 18-yard gain and a first down in the third quarter. “I was running for my life, I tell you,” Turk said. “That’s when I run fastest: when someone is chasing me.”