The pick-six has always been about the luck of the draw. After all, it’s an old lottery phrase.
Thus far this season, Texans opponents are coming by pick-sixes so often that the lottery seems rigged. Maybe I should replace the word “rigged” with “Schaubed.”
Texans quarterback Matt Schaub delivered his third lucky strike to a defender in as many weeks Sunday, helping the Seattle Seahawks sneak out of Reliant Stadium with a 23-20 overtime win in a game that the Texans had no business losing.
Schaub was just good enough the first two weeks for the Texans to win; just bad enough the past two weeks for them to lose.
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That dichotomy leaves Texans coach Gary Kubiak stuck between a rock and a barred place.
It may sound crazy to those of you who want to pull the plug on the Schaub Experience after 6 ¼ seasons in Houston, but NFL coaches simply don’t bench their franchise quarterback because he is making a couple bad plays a game.
And, yes, Houston, Schaub is the Texans’ franchise quarterback — at least for the rest of this year.
The biggest problem is Schaub’s bad plays have turned into Texans’ horrible plays, and he has done more to hinder the team’s pursuit of victory than any individual on the team.
Is that a little harsh? Well, yeah, but it is true.
Schaub shouldered the blame for the Week 3 loss at Baltimore and said his feelings about this one are pretty much the same. He won’t find any argument here.
“I’m the quarterback of this team I have the ball in my hands (more than anyone else),” Schaub said. “This one hurts bad.”
The Texans’ defense has surrendered four touchdowns the last three weeks, while Schaub has given up three. Surrendering just seven points a game would be great for a defense. It is terrible for a quarterback.
In this town, T.J. Yates, the backup quarterback, isn’t the most popular man in town. When it comes to the Texans’ signal callers, third-stringer Case Keenum is that guy.
A move to either backup isn’t being considered by the Texans and shouldn’t be — not yet — but Schaub may have shortened the leash on Sunday.
If the Texans had a quarterback that was Schaub’s equal on the bench, there would be logic to making the switch, but with the drop-off from Schaub to Yates in experience and play, there isn’t much of an argument that the Texans would have been better with Schaub on the bench. Most likely they would have been worse.
So, aside from an injury or a total collapse, the Texans are going to win or lose with Schaub running the show.
The Texans don’t need Schaub to be great; they simply need him to not be as bad as he has been on several plays this season.
He has worn out his welcome in this town to the point that he’ll have to come through big-time the rest of the way, postseason included, to earn back the trust of most fans. Right now, the Texans simply don’t have a better option.
Not one Texan — on or off the record — expressed any doubt or a lack of confidence in Schaub’s ability to lead the team going forward.
“If anybody’s lost faith in him, I don’t see it,” Johnson said. “You don’t sense that around the locker room or anything like that.”
That should tell you something about Yates and Keenum, too. Teammates would be less inclined to stand up in Schaub’s defense if they thought there was a guy waiting in the wings who could help them win.
Schaub doesn’t have to be perfect, no quarterback is, but with his limitations, he can’t afford to be so giving. His 355 passing yards and two touchdown passes were better than counterpart Russell Wilson’s 123 yard passing and 77 rushing.
The pick-six was inexcusable, and costly.
Coach Gary Kubiak blamed the play call. Nice try.
One of Schaub’s strengths is supposed to be protecting the football, but he has thrown an interception in seven straight games (including the playoffs) and the Texans are 3-4 in those contests.
He has thrown crucial fourth-quarter pick-sixes before. Remember the game-losing one he threw with less than three minutes remaining at Arizona in 2009? This one with less than three minutes remaining and the Texans leading by a touchdown fits into that category.
What was so different about all the smart plays he made on Sunday and that really dumb one?
“You know, sitting here right now I can’t give you an exact reason,” Schaub said when I asked him that after the game. “And I know I should be able to do that, but it just hurts so bad right now that it’s hard to come up with an answer for you. But I know one thing, we’re going to be better as we move forward.”
One would think that by luck of the draw, Schaub won’t throw another pick-six next week at San Francisco.
Then again, you probably thought that this week, too.