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NFL.com - Matt Schaub, Andy Dalton holding back would-be contenders

Discussion in 'Houston Texans' started by Andre0087, Sep 30, 2013.

  1. Andre0087

    Andre0087 Member

    Jan 16, 2012
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    "The Houston Texans were headed for a biceps-flexing victory over the powerful Seattle Seahawks on Sunday, clinging to what remained of a 17-point second-half lead while marching toward a potential game-clinching field goal, when a calamitous chain of events underscored all that is maddening about this tantalizingly talented team.

    First, coach Gary Kubiak made the dubious decision to put the ball in quarterback Matt Schaub's hands.

    Seconds later, Schaub put it right into the hands of Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman, who raced 58 yards for a game-tying touchdown -- and the Texans watched a hotly contested matchup slip through their fingers.

    By the time Seattle pulled out a 23-20 overtime victory at Reliant Stadium on Steven Hauschka's 45-yard field goal, the Texans had been slapped in the face by the reality that when it comes to battling pro football's toughest teams, their quarterback isn't up to the challenge.

    It's a feeling, incidentally, to which at least one other would-be contender can relate: The Cincinnati Bengals, who received another reminder Sunday -- in a 17-6 defeat to the Cleveland Browns -- that third-year quarterback Andy Dalton isn't good enough to allow them to compete, in the bigger picture, with the NFL's elite.

    At least Dalton, a second-round draft pick in 2011 who has started from the get-go, still carries a shred of theoretical potential. In the case of the 32-year-old Schaub, now in his seventh season as the Texans' starter, we pretty much know what his upside is -- and it's essentially holding down a team's ambitions.

    Back when the Texans were the perpetual underdogs trying to break into the postseason for the first time in franchise history, Schaub wasn't so much of an anchor. He ran Kubiak's offense proficiently, was consistently productive and moved well enough in the pocket not to be a total liability. The standards were lower, and Schaub routinely exceeded them.

    Last year, however, Schaub played poorly down the stretch, and a team that looked Super heading into December flamed out with a 2-4 finish, bookended by resounding defeats to the New England Patriots (the latter in a divisional-round clash). Houston entered this season with a stacked roster that includes defensive end J.J. Watt, the 2012 NFL Defensive Player of the Year -- but without having upgraded the most important position.

    As we saw on Sunday, that means the Texans (2-2) can only do so much. After outplaying the undefeated Seahawks all afternoon, Houston led 20-13 and faced a third-and-4 from the Seattle 40 with 2:51 left in regulation. One conversion, and the Texans likely could have bled the clock while settling into field-goal range.

    With Schaub looking about as comfortable as a man preparing for a colonoscopy, the smart play was to have him hand the ball to Arian Foster and let the star halfback try to run for the stick behind a powerful offensive line.

    Instead, Kubiak went with the precise play that Sherman hoped he would, which called for Schaub to execute a play-fake to his left (to Foster) before rolling right and looking for veteran tight end Owen Daniels on a swing pass.

    Later, when I asked Sherman (via text) if he was surprised that the Texans would throw it in that situation, he replied, "I was, but it's a play (on which) I picked (off the pass) in practice."

    Sherman, as is his habit, purposely baited the quarterback, including safeties Earl Thomas and Kam Chancellor in his ruse. "It took all of us," Sherman said. "(We talked about it) as soon as our defensive coordinator made the call."

    Chancellor did his part by blitzing and rushing straight at Schaub rather than falling for the fake. At that point, the quarterback should have cut his losses and either taken a sack or thrown the ball away. Instead, he floated a high, lazy pass toward Daniels, and Sherman swallowed it up like a "First Take" interview question.

    Sherman scooted 58 yards for the tying score -- the third interception for a touchdown that Schaub had thrown in as many games. The cornerback's right shoe stayed behind on the turf, a symbolic remnant for the benefit of Schaub, who was about to get kicked around by a grumpy fan base.

    The previous week, someone displayed a "Cut Schaub" sign on the I-45 bridge. If that seemed a tad extreme, consider that after Sunday's game, some fans outside Reliant burned his jersey.

    And, of course, people in my business felt compelled to point out the obvious -- it's tough to imagine the Texans getting past the divisional round of the playoffs (their final destination in each of the past two seasons) with this kind of quarterback play.

    In reality, the bulk of the anger shouldn't be directed at Schaub. Rather, Texans fans should be ticked off at general manager Rick Smith, who didn't explore other options, and Kubiak, who clearly has more faith in his quarterback than logic suggests he should.

    It was telling that after Sunday's game, Daniels admitted to CSNHouston.com that he thought Kubiak should have called a running play on third-and-4.

    "We run the plays that are called, that they tell us to run," Daniels said. "I'm not the coach, but we have a pretty darn good running back and guys up front, and that's a situation where I wish we would have run it."

    Ya think?"

  2. HR Dept

    HR Dept Contributing Member

    May 31, 2012
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    Well written article, actually.
  3. leroy

    leroy Contributing Member

    Jun 25, 2002
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    We definitely needed another thread.
  4. Coach AI

    Coach AI Contributing Member

    Feb 15, 1999
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    Hard to disagree
  5. PDJACK7

    PDJACK7 Member

    Jun 14, 2008
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    No, No, No. It's the o-line...wait, I mean the receivers.....wait, I mean the coach. And why couldn't the defense hold them....it all started when Tate fumbled. Things Schaub supporters would say.

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