Graham goes 1-on-1 after the big win
Matt Schaub dropped back to pass early in the second quarter and lofted the ball to James Casey on the left sideline.
Schaub, the NFL veteran in his ninth season, played in 181 games and started 81 before getting a chance to play in the playoffs on Saturday.
After starting off the season well – the Texans were 11-1 after all – Schaub really started to struggle. He won two shootouts against the Lions and Jaguars and threw for five touchdowns on Nov. 18. But since then, he threw just four touchdown passes in the final six games of the season, to go along with four interceptions.
The critics were loud coming in.
Then they got even louder.
Schaub’s pass for Casey never quite made it there. Instead, Leon Hall stepped in front of the tight end and ran 21 yards the other way for a touchdown to give the Bengals a 7-6 lead.
“They made a play,” Schaub said. “Leon Hall made a good play, stepping in front and getting down the sideline. In that situation we had max protection, just trying to work one side of the field. I just have to throw it away, live for another down.”
But he didn’t do it there. The much-maligned quarterback’s first playoff touchdown went for the wrong team. He left Saturday’s game still waiting for a touchdown throw in his favor. He’ll get that chance next week when the Texans take on the Patriots in Foxboro.
“It’s a one-game season,” Schaub said. “What we learned and the situations we were in a month ago, we can definitely pull from that. We’ve been down on the road. We know what it takes to win and that’s play good road football. We didn’t do that the last time we played up there.”
Schaub didn't play great but thanks to some fantastic defense and Arian Foster, the Texans were able to sneak out of Reliant Stadium with a 19-13 win on Saturday.
Schaub hasn’t played good football at all recently. But on Saturday, he did enough for the Texans to pull out a win. Schaub completed 29 of 38 passes for 262 yards with that one interceptions. His favorite target was Owen Daniels, who caught nine passes for 91 yards.
“Nobody panicked,” Andre Johnson said about the team’s reaction following the pick-six. “Everybody was just like ‘We’re going to keep playing. Don’t worry about it.’ Like I said, we had control of the game. We didn’t feel like we ever lost control of the game. Nobody was really worried about it.”
While fans might have lost the confidence in their franchise quarterback, it was pretty evident on Saturday that the Texans have not. After two runs by Arian Foster set up a 3rd-and-2, the Texans ran a play fake and let Schaub throw into a tight window to Garrett Graham.
Graham made tough catch and took an even tougher hit but held on. That pretty much sealed the game.
“I mean, people have been giving him all kind of crap because of him not winning a playoff game and stuff like that,” Johnson said about the completion to Graham. “When it’s your first time doing something people have been talking bad about you and stuff like that after the season he has had, it can’t be nothing but relief. It just keeps some people’s mouths closed.”
While Schaub started the season for the Texans in 2011, it was T.J. Yates who led the franchise to its first-ever playoff win. Schaub had to watch that game from the sideline, which made Saturday’s win a little more sweet as he walked off the field.
“After last year, it’s very exciting to be a part of this and be out on the field with my guys and be able to win a playoff game,” Schaub said. “It’s been a long time coming for this organization and for me personally.”