Before the Green Bay Packers frolicked and played, the Eskimo way, and turned snowy Lambeau Field into a winter wonderland, there was a much different tune.
The Packers were stuck in a 7-all tie against the Houston Texans. The conditions had conspired to ruin both teams’ offenses. After a second-quarter touchdown drive, the Packers’ next four possessions mustered all of one first down. But then came a second-and-10 from the Texans’ 32-yard line early in the fourth quarter. Jordy Nelson was matched on Houston cornerback Charles James. Nelson went up the field and James slipped to the turf inside the 20 — leaving a 5-yard skid mark on the snow-covered field. That left Nelson all alone in the end zone. He was so alone that he was able to wait for Aaron Rodgers’ deep pass to fall through the snowflakes and into his waiting hands a few yards into the end zone.
“We were just running side by side,” Nelson said. “I don’t know if he tripped over his feet or my feet or what. I was trying to stack him and keep the leverage so Aaron could throw it outside. He just fell down and luckily Aaron saw me late and was able to get the ball to me.”
It was Nelson’s 10th touchdown of the year — and perhaps the easiest. The final play of that season-long 98-yard drive gave the Packers a 14-7 lead with 12:42 to play in the fourth quarter.
The biggest problem, countless players said, was the snow getting stuck in the arches of their shoes and their cleats, making it difficult to get any footing after a few steps.
“It was tough because between every play you had ice in your shoes and I had to make sure I had to scrape that off so I wouldn’t slip,” Texans cornerback A.J. Bouye said.
Added Packers left tackle David Bakhtiari: “The snow was a little different, a little sticky. Real quick, you go from having cleats to having no cleats.”
For Packers running back/receiver Ty Montgomery and cornerback LaDarius Gunter, this was the first snow game of their careers.
“It was actually fun,” Gunter said. “I was amazed the whole game. I was talking to Q (Quinten Rollins) and D (Damarious Randall) and I kept saying, ‘Man, this is crazy.’ You always watch it on TV but going out there and doing it, it was fun.’”
But challenging. Montgomery, who consulted with the veterans about the proper cleats and gloves to use, had a 39-yard kickoff return in the third quarter that should have gone for more yardage.
“I had some ice/snow/slush buildup on the bottom of my cleats so I couldn’t really hit the corner the way I wanted to and tried not to slip,” he said. “I’m thankful for what I was able to get.”
For the Packers, who remain two games behind Detroit in the NFC North, they’ll take any edge they can get as they try to get back in the playoff race.
“As a thrower, you’d like a perfect environment,” said Rodgers, who labored through the conditions and an injured left hamstring to complete 20-of-30 passes for 209 yards and a pair of touchdowns. “As a football fan and historian, you love games like this. These are fun ones. This is Lambeau Field in the winter that we love. Unfortunately, we had some games last year where these were rain games, so it’s nice to have the snow. It’s obviously a lot easier throwing the football when it’s snowing than when it’s raining. That helped today.”
One of his touchdown passes went to Randall Cobb, who celebrated in the most appropriate of ways: a snow angel, followed by a Lambeau Leap.
“It was spur of the moment,” Cobb said. “I couldn't get up. I was sliding and I couldn't get up as fast as I wanted to, so I was like, why not?”
Bill Huber is publisher of PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org or leave him a question in Packer Report’s subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at www.twitter.com/PackerReport.