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They were working on a short week and coming off the emotional high of winning the first "Monday Night Football" game they ever played in. They were a poor road team heading for frigid temperatures at a historic venue.
The Texans' win in Green Bay on a last-second, 41-yard field goal by Kris Brown was a landmark occasion for the franchise, which now sits at 6-7 and is riding the second three-game winning streak of its season.
Quarterback Matt Schaub returned from his knee injury and made people forget for a day how poorly he'd played away from Reliant Stadium since becoming Houston's starter with the sort of stats that bring back memories of what a certain gun-slinging Packers quarterback used to do at Lambeau Field: 28-of-42 for 414 yards, two touchdowns and an interception.
These good developments unfolded despite the Texans' inability to quash their turnover problems. In addition to Schaub's interception, they saw three key skill players also give the ball away -- Steve Slaton and Owen Daniels fumbled and Jacoby Jones muffed a punt.
All three of Green Bay's scores were set up by turnovers.
But it was the kind of game where the Texans had to feel like things are turning for them. Matt Turk was about to get a punt blocked, pulled it down and raced for a first down and 18 yards. Schaub found Andre Johnson later on a crucial two-point conversion.
The Texans go into their final three games -- against Tennessee, at Oakland and against Chicago -- with dreams of matching last year's 8-8, or even topping it.