Last week, when the Houston Texans hosted the then-undefeated Seattle Seahawks, fans spent $200 to purchase the jersey of Texans quarterback Matt Schaub. Those fans then proceeded to set fire to that brand new jersey in the parking lot, vividly expressing their frustration with Schaub’s sub-par performance this season. After Houston’s Sunday loss in San Francisco (34-3), Texans fans may be burning more than Schaub’s jersey.
The San Francisco 49ers scored fast and early Sunday, which took advantage of a Texans quirk that other teams and analysts have touched upon: Houston has not been a very good come back team. If the Texans do not take an early lead, they usually end up trailing to the very end of the game. Add to that Schaub’s erratic play in recent weeks –throwing a pick-6 in four games so far- and it was a very long night for Houston.
Despite the public outcry, Houston Coach Gary Kubiak announced the Texans have no plans to bench Schaub, although he did just that in the fourth quarter on Sunday. Backup quarterback T. J. Yates took the field instead, but the outcome remained as bleak as it began with Schaub’s opening pick-the first of three- to 49er cornerback Tremaine Brock. Brock ran that catch back for an 18-yard score, handing Schaub the dubious record he now holds. He is the first NFL quarterback in the history of the league to throw a pick-6 in four consecutive games.
Schaub’s numbers are not all bad. He came to Houston in 2007 on a trade with the Atlanta Falcons and maintained a passer rating above 90% since 2008. Fans and analysts are questioning Schaub’s fortitude: Does he have what it takes to get his team to the Super Bowl? Overall, Schaub has thrown a total of nine interceptions, surpassed only by struggling New York Giant’ quarterback Eli Manning (12). With all the negative vibes flowing his way, one has to wonder how Schaub manages to deal with it.
Earlier this month, Schaub deleted his Twitter account, apparently tiring of the constant abuse he was receiving there. It must be stated that after seven years in the league, Schaub may be in a funk, but that funk may be deepened by the relentless criticism being piled upon him. Perhaps the fans and the media should stop adding fuel to the proverbial fire, step back and let this man get his head together.
Collectively, the majority of experts agree that Schaub is perhaps the best choice to continue leading the Texans. Backup Yates threw just 10 passes since he stepped onto the field in a 2011 playoff game to present.
Let it be said that Sunday’s loss cannot be placed solely on Schaub. The Texans offense and defense allowed the 49ers to take advantage of those three interceptions and run roughshod over them from kickoff. The D-line has stepped up and taken responsibility for their part in the drab performance, but fans continue to harass Schaub online.
One fan has even started a Bench Matt Schaub Facebook page. Launched last week after the Seattle loss, the site had over 2000 likes within 24 hours. By the time the game was over, KHOU 11 News Shern-min Chow reports the page had nearly 12 thousand likes and went over 13 thousand by the time her report aired.
While their team is sitting at a lukewarm 2-3, Houston fans must realize the season is far from over. It is possible to turn things around and regain some footing in the race for playoff contention. Coach Kubiak has placed his trust in Schaub and with it the Houston Texans’ entire season. Houston plays the St. Louis Rams next, and if this week’s record setting pick does not light a fire under Matt Schaub, fans seem more than obliged to ignite the coals.
Written by: Brandi Tasby
Bench Matt Schaub-FB