Unsung(?) Hero: Matt Schaub Saves The Day

That's the Matt Schaub we all know and remember.

 

Maybe the more correct title would be, "Not Nearly Sung Enough Hero," because this week's spotlight player did get some praise - just not enough praise.1


It's rare that a quarterback falls into the shadows when his team storms back from a 14-point deficit.

However, it's understandable when Gus Johnson is shouting "Touchdown! The Great One, Andre Johnson!" Fans? We spent a lot of time praising Johnson and celebrating the re-emergence of TE Owen Daniels. Running backs Arian Foster and Derrick Ward are, rightfully, also getting applauded for a combined 129-yard, three touchdown performance. Finally, the post-game chatter has fans calling for the firing of underwhelming defensive coordinator Frank Bush. Given all of these storylines, it is easy to forget about the quiet guy who doesn't have the pedigree, pretty boy looks, or college profile of other quarterbacks.

Yet, Houston Texans QB Matt Schaub deserves much more praise than he is receiving for the heart attack inducing 35-31 victory over the Kansas City Chiefs. If he were a Manning, Brady, or Sanchez, everyone would fall over themselves to lavish praise on him. Those quarterbacks would lead off SportsCenter for a big comeback victory over the AFC West division leaders but Matt Schaub? Well, he'll have to be happy with this consolation prize.

No one can deny that the Texans pass offense had not exactly dominated as we fans were accustomed to seeing. The complaints were all the same: Schaub's holding onto the ball too long, forcing balls into triple-coverage, and getting passes knocked down at the line of scrimmage. However, Matt Schaub turned it all around when Houston needed him most on Sunday.


vs KAN / 10.17.10 Passing Rushing
Comp Att Pct Yds TD Rush Yds Avg TD
Matt Schaub 25 33 75.8 305 2 1 3 3.0 0


Let's start with his stat-line for Week Six. As you can see above, Matt Schaub had a great passing day. A week after a dreadful performance, Schaub ended Sunday's game with an impressive QB Rating of 123.9 -  his fifth-best rating in a Texans uniform. As a side stat, the Texans are 15-4 when the better #8 posts a QB Rating over 100.

To make yesterday more impressive, Schaub's big day also came against one of the league's better secondaries - as Kansas City fans were happy to remind us about during the week leading up to the game. Raw numbers aside, Matt Schaub played as good of a game as I can remember.

Sunday was a day where the three-second internal clock was working for Schaub. The two sacks he took were on the fault of the interior offensive line getting beat quickly as opposed to the many coverage sacks he has taken this season. Whenever Schaub couldn't find anyone, he was able to get out of the pocket and either extend plays, find his check-down option, or throw the ball away.

Forcing a pass to triple-covered Andre Johnson? Not this Sunday for Matt Schaub. Half of his completions went to running backs and tight ends. There were no stupid decisions, no stupid interceptions, and the only play where people got nervous was the slant to Jacoby Jones, during the 4th quarter, when Chiefs CB Brandon Flowers tried to jump the route and whiffed.

In the game thread during the fourth quarter, people were expecting the game-losing Stupid INT of the Game, but Schaub remained calm, took what the defense gave him, and marched down the field on three touchdown-producing drives. During his brilliant fourth quarter, Schaub was 11/14 for 155 yards, eight first downs, and a touchdown - the game-winner. Matt Schaub supporter or not, you can't argue against that kind of near-flawless performance in crunch time. As Gary Kubiak said post-game, it takes a special kind of quarterback to perform like that in the fourth quarter. Going forward, we can all hope that #8 continues to perform as he did this past Sunday and not make those mistakes which plagued him in the first month of the season.

Of course, Matt Schaub's not a big spotlight guy. If people want to lavish praise on The Great One or get excited about Owen Daniels' health, he'd probably be all for it because those two make his job easier. He's endured his share of criticism this year for the passing game's sluggish start, but Schaub silently answered back Sunday with one of his best performances in deep steel blue. For leading the Texans to their fourth victory while, somehow, not getting nearly enough praise for his clutch performance, Matt Schaub is this week's unsung hero not-nearly-sung-enough hero.

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1 I have to say that I nearly picked RB Derrick Ward as the unsung hero, but he only had three carries so I went with Schaub. I felt he had gotten lost in the post-game comments, as I said in the post. However, y'all can make a case for Ward, or anyone else, below in the comments.

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