Schaub’s pick-6 leads to Texans’ OT loss

Schaub’s pick-6 leads to Texans’ OT loss
September 29, 2013, 6:15 pm
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Matt Schaub on his pick-six in loss to Seahawks

Matt Schaub reacts after throwing a fourth quarter interception that was returned for a touchdown.

(USA Today Images)

After Matt Schaub threw a brilliant pass that floated into the arms of Garrett Graham for an early touchdown, the much-maligned quarterback pumped his fists with force, showing more emotion than he almost ever shows.

But a much different Matt Schaub slinked into the Texans’ auditorium following the team’s 23-20 overtime loss to the Seahawks on Sunday afternoon.

“It hurts,” said Schaub, who looked emotionally drained. “It hurts bad.”

The Texans gave away a 17-point halftime lead to the Seahawks, with the biggest blow of all coming on another horrendous decision from the quarterback. Schaub’s third-down pass intended for Owen Daniels was intercepted by Richard Sherman and returned 58 yards for a touchdown. It was Schaub’s sixth interception of the season and the third returned for a touchdown. Schaub didn't throw his sixth interception until the ninth game of the 2012 season.

The Texans’ lead had already been cut from 17 to seven. They were inside Seattle territory, in the fourth quarter, when Schaub had pressure in his face on a rollout and tried to force a ball into Daniels on 3rd-and-4. After the game, Schaub admitted he should have either thrown the ball at Daniels’ feet or taken the sack.

But head coach Gary Kubiak said it should have even come to that. Kubiak, who is often criticized for being too conservative, might have been too aggressive on that third-down play.

“I’ll be honest with you, I take responsibility,” Kubiak said. “I put him in a bad situation as a coach. Obviously, we have to protect the ball. I put him in a bad situation. Probably should have run the ball there and punt and play defense. But trying to be aggressive and trying to make a play and we didn’t and it ended up killing us, hurting us. I take responsibility. I could have obviously called a better play.”

Daniels, who was the target on that ill-advised throw, thought the Texans should have run the ball on that play.

“We run the plays that are called, that they tell us to run,” Daniels said. “I’m not the coach but we have a pretty darn good running back and guys up front and that’s a situation where I wish we would have run it.”

Daniels said he tried to do everything he could to get to the ball and knock it away from Sherman. Sherman said it was a play he recognized as one the Texans like to use in short-yardage situations.

While Daniels disagreed with the call, he said the team should have executed the play better.

“We’re all in this together,” the veteran tight end said. “I think they’ll look back at it. We’re going to take ownership for the way we played. They’re going to take ownership for how they coach. This is a together thing. We should have executed that play better, even though we might have disagreed with the call. We don’t have to agree with every single call that’s made out there, but we have to run it to the best of our ability and make it work.”

Schaub finished the game completing 31-of-49 passes for 355 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions. At times, he played very well.

But the Texans turned the ball over three times on Sunday. The Seahawks scored 10 points off turnovers. Through four games, the Texans have given up 34 points after turnovers; 21 of them have come on pick-6s from Schaub.

“I definitely believe in (Schaub),” Texans defensive end Antonio Smith said. “You see what he did today. You see what he did today. I believe in him 100 percent. Never have not believed in him. It’s things he has to do to fix his game just like there’s things I need to do to fix my game. Everybody has that and everybody deserves the chance to fix that. He deserves the chance to go out there and fix his mistakes and I have no doubt that he’s going to do it.”

Smith’s support of Schaub was mirrored by the rest of the Texans in the locker room, including Daniels, Arian Foster, Andre Johnson, Chris Myers and more. When asked, Kubiak said he would not consider replacing Schaub as the team’s starting quarterback.

But Schaub needs to get better. And he knows it.

“He’s the head coach and it’s fine for him to say that,” Schaub said about Kubiak’s comments on play calling, “but ultimately he makes the call to put it in my hands and trust me with the ball and I’m the one who has it in my hands. And I have to be better.”