Matt Schaub (Getty Images)
When the Houston Texans went down 21-7 on Sunday with 12 minutes left in the first half, many Texans fans and media alike had to be thinking, "here we go again." After a season opening beat-down at home at the hands of the New York Jets in which the Houston offense failed to score, things were certainly looking bleak.
All of a sudden, Schaub happened. Texans quarterback Matt Schaub caught fire against one of the best defenses in the league a year ago, and the Texans ripped off 17 consecutive points en route to a career day.
"Well, they're a heck of a defense," Texans quarterback Matt Schaub said of the Titans. "Their front four, really they play like eight guys so they keep it fresh. They are very relentless getting to the quarterback. We know we have to drop back, we can't hold them. Guys were getting open. Making plays is what it's about. That was very good defense we faced."
Schaub finished 25 of 39, for 357 yards, four touchdowns and no interceptions which is good for a 127.8 quarterback rating, better than 70 points higher than a week ago against the Jets.
"I was very impressed with how he (Schaub) played yesterday," Texans head coach Gary Kubiak told the media.
The Texans of course finished the job as they used a 23-yard Kris Brown field goal to pull ahead 34-31, and the defense sealed the deal as veteran Jeff Zgonina pounced on a Kerry Collins fumble.
"I tried to tuck it and run and it just hit my leg," Titans quarterback Kerry Collins said. "It was a bad play on my part."
Schaub has the reputation of being injury-prone, and it is well deserved, as he is yet to complete a 16-game season. Texans head coach Gary Kubiak believes that Sunday's performance showed a new level of toughness from his signal caller.
"When you play against that team you better be a tough quarterback," Kubiak said. "You're going to get hit. He took some shots in the pocket, stayed in there and made some great plays. Had a great sense of getting rid of the ball. No sacks and no turnovers playing against Tennessee's defense gives you the best chance to win. I thought Matt played about as good as I've seen him play. He was very focused and hopefully he continues to get better and totally back to a hundred percent."
Few gave Houston much of a chance to go into LP Field in Nashville and come out with a win against last season's AFC South champs, but the Texans persevered through a tough start and were able to out-execute the home team. Instead of staring down an 0-2 start, the Texans are 1-1 with Jacksonville and Oakland visiting Reliant Stadium in the next two weeks.
Texans head coach Gary Kubiak was asked if this win could build momentum for his team.
"Yeah, it can," Kubiak replied. "Obviously a lot of confidence when you go get something like that done but like I said yesterday, we're very realistic. You sit here and watch the film today and we understand our problems and the statistics don't lie. I think our guys are very humbled by what's going on and know the issues that we have, and understand that we can be pretty darn good or pretty darn average. It's about just staying focused on what we're doing."
The early line shows the Texans as three and a half point favorites against Jacksonville, and the winless Jaguars are certainly reeling after getting whacked by the Arizona Cardinals, a game in which the defending NFC champs were so much in control, that they pulled their starting quarterback with seven minutes left in the third period.
Still, Gary Kubiak doesn't want his team to get ahead of themselves.
"It counts as one," Kubiak said following the game. "We're a one-and-one football team. We're a .500 team that is very inconsistent and we got some many things to fix to be competitive week in and week out. We feel good about winning today but we have a long, long way to go."
With struggling Jacksonville and anemic Oakland visiting Houston in the next two weeks, the Texans will face arguably two of the worst quarterbacks in the NFL which should help to improve upon their 32nd overall defensive ranking. This is a golden opportunity for Houston to get two games above .500 for the first time in a long time.