NFL – Can Matt Schaub Finally Lead the Texans Over The Indy Hump?

2-16 

Such a simple number, one might think it is a date of significance or an abbreviation of a post-Valentine’s Day sale at Godiva’s.

For the Houston Texans and their Pro Bowl quarterback, Matt Schaub it is more that, it is their woeful record against AFC South nemesis, the Indianapolis Colts.    

While 2010 may have served as a breakthrough against their long-time tormentors from the Midwest, Houston simply has be owned by Peyton Manning since coming into the league in 2002 as the NFL’s 32nd team. 

If Houston is to have a legitimate shot of winning their division and going to the Super Bowl, they must find a way to solve the Colts.

Houston has Pro Bowl talent at the skill positions in quarterback, Matt Schaub, wide receiver, Andre Johnson and running back, Arian Foster who led the NFL in rushing with 1,616 yards.

Foster’s breakout game was against the Colts, in which he set an NFL record for most rushing yards in the season opener with 231 yards. Foster would also run for three touchdowns in a rare 34-24 win.  

Despite having a quarterback that would throw for over 4,000 yards in Matt Schaub who would throw for 4,370 yards, 24 touchdowns and 12 interceptions and a receiver who would amass over 1,000 yards receiving in Andre Johnson who had 1,216, The Texans would only finish third in the AFC South with a record of 6-10.   

Matt Schaub showed the skills of an elite-level QB in leading the Texans high-powered offense, which was 4th in the league in passing, averaging 259.9 yards a game and ninth in the league in scoring, averaging 24.4 points a game.   

Schaub’s three touchdown, 497 yard outburst against the Washington Redskins in a Week 2 30-27 victory was an example of his ability to be a elite QB. 

During a four-week stretch against the Philadelphia Eagles, Baltimore Ravens, Tennessee Titans and Denver Broncos, Schaub threw for a combined 1,365 yards, eight touchdowns and five interceptions.

Schaub would complete over 61 percent of his passes for a QB rating of 88.6, while averaging 337 yards passing.   

The highlight of this amazing tear for Schaub was attempting a career high 62 attempts for 393 yards in a Monday Night loss to the Baltimore Ravens, 34-27 in overtime. 

Since arriving from Atlanta in a 2007 trade for Houston’s second-round picks in 2007 and 2008, The 6’5 240 pound, Pittsburgh-born, former Virginia Cavalier standout has thrown for 14,424 yards, 77 touchdowns and 46 interceptions.

Schaub has completed 66 percent of his passes for a QB rating of 92.6 in his four years as starting quarterback for Houston. 

While Schaub’s numbers are worthy of elite consideration, Houston’s defense against the pass is anything but note-worthy.

Houston’s pass defense, or lack —there of—was the worst ranked in the league at 32nd, giving up a average of 267 passing yards a game at 267.5.

For 2011, it looks like the Texans may have finally figured out that the best way to stop Peyton Manning is to apply consistent pressure, which is why Houston drafted defense in defensive end J.J Watt out of Wisconsin and Brooks Reed out of Arizona to help contain and hopefully stop Manning and the Colts offense.     

If the recent reports are true that wideout Andre Johnson is lobbying for Pro Bowl cornerback, Nnamdi Asomugha of the Oakland Raiders, then the Texans may finally be on the right track.

For Houston, the road to the next step goes through Peyton Manning, while quarterback, Matt Schaub has proven to be a elite QB, it is the Texan’s defense that will have to step up to the schoolyard bully of the AFC South and take them down in order to succeed.

Hopefully Houston can improve their dreadful record of 2-16 against Manning by one, and maybe two.   

Email me at robcobb@gmail.com, follow me on Twitter at @Robert_Cobb    

This article also appears on Houston Texans blog, Battle Red Blog

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