Play action works again for Schaub, Texans

Play action works again for Schaub, Texans
November 5, 2012, 11:00 am
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Matt Schaub dropped back to his right, extended his arm and handed off the ball to Arian Foster.

Only he didn’t.

Instead, Schaub faked the handoff on the play-action bootleg and rolled to his left. Schaub stopped, turned around and hit Owen Daniels sprinting down the right sideline for a 39-yard touchdown pass and the first score of the game in the Texans' win.

Another play-action pass. Another huge play for the Texans. It’s something that has become normal for Houston after the last couple of years.

So, why is the Texans’ play-action game work so well?

“Because our run game is so effective and when we play our play action or our bootleg game we can get some guys open down the field,” Schaub said. “If it’s not there, we got things underneath that we can dump it down to and those guys are open and making plays. It’s just if they give us the deep play, then we’re going to take it. If not we’ll dump it down underneath.”

On this particular play, the play action fake to Foster created enough time for Daniels to start lined up on the left side of the field, cut across the middle and break free down the right sideline. It was the first touchdown of the game (coming with under a minute to go in the first quarter) and Daniels’ fifth of the season.

The fake by Schaub was so good Daniels ran right past the Bills’ defenders who bit hard.

According to ProFootballFocus, before that play, Schaub had a quarterback rating of 119 from the play action this season. That’s probably because he practices it so much. Schaub said he works on the play action every day at practice.

“It was a keeper that we use,” Daniels said. “I leaked out on the backside and was able to get out there with no one following me. “Matt made a good throw.”

According to Football Outsiders, the Texans ran the play action more than any other team in 2011 and averaged 10.2 yards per play action completion. While backup T.J. Yates used the play action more than Schaub, the Texans’ starter used it quite a bit too. Around 30 percent of Schaub’s dropbacks in 2011 were for a play action.

“I’ve run that in past years but it has never quite worked out for me,” Daniels said. “It’s worked for other people. It was good to get that going. We needed a touchdown at that time.”

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