Schaub has shot to get Texans into AFC title game
Matt Schaub made his first playoff start last week and helped lead the
Houston Texans to a win.
But he did make a key mistake, throwing an interception which was
returned for a touchdown.
He knows he'll have to be much better if the Texans expect to win at
New England in a divisional playoff game on Sunday.
''He's going to have to play at a high level, but we all are,'' coach
Gary Kubiak said. ''You know what I mean? We got a job to do around
Schaub's No. 1 goal this week is to help the offense score touchdowns
instead of field goals when it gets in the red zone. Houston got inside
the 20-yard line four times last weekend against Cincinnati, and
settled for field goals three times after the offense stalled.
''Against this team in their building threes aren't going to cut it,''
Schaub said. ''We've got to get down there and we've got be aggressive
and score touchdowns.''
Schaub is a nine-year veteran, but Saturday was his first start in the
postseason after he missed Houston's playoff run last year because of
an injured foot. He said it meant a lot to him to be with his team for
the first time in the playoffs, and of course, getting the win made it
Receiver Andre Johnson believes that having that first game out of the
way will help Schaub this week against the Patriots.
''Him just getting his first win probably just got a monkey off his
back,'' Johnson said. ''Because that's something that a lot of people
talked about. I think with him getting that out of the way, it will
make him feel more comfortable going into the game.''
The Texans had their worst game of the season in their first trip to
Foxborough, a 42-14 loss to the Patriots last month. But Schaub said
that the loss didn't do anything to hurt their confidence.
''We know what type of team we can be when we're playing up to our
expectations and our standards and what we demand out of ourselves,''
he said. ''We'll go up there with a lot of confidence to win a road
Offensive coordinator Rick Dennison was pleased with Schaub's work
against the Bengals, and liked how he dealt with their pass rush, which
is among the best in the NFL.
''He managed the game well and then he handled the pressure when it was
coming, to get the ball out, when he was hot,'' Dennison said. ''He
missed a couple of things. Obviously, his footwork was a little off, it
cost us one there. But he's a tough-minded kid and he kept playing. Our
guys rally around tough guys and he's done a nice job with that all
year - just keep bouncing back. I think with that he leads us very
Schaub threw for 4,008 yards with 22 touchdowns and 12 interceptions in
the regular season. But he's thrown just one touchdown with four
interceptions in the past five games.
Aside from the interception, Schaub was better against the Bengals as
he completed 29 of 38 passes for 262 yards. He was helped by improved
protection, and wasn't sacked after being taken down 12 times in the
previous four games combined.
He knows they'll likely face a completely new look from New England's
defense this time around.
''You've got to go in expecting a lot of different things,'' he said.
''You've got to be prepared to handle a lot of different situations and
circumstances, things that they can do because they do a lot. Being
able to adjust in game will be important.''
Along with taking advantage of opportunities in the red zone, Schaub
knows another key to the game will be limiting penalties and turnovers
against New England. He had an interception early in the last game
against the Patriots that contributed to an early 14-0 deficit.
''The way they play, you can't have penalties and put yourself behind
in the down and distance,'' he said. ''You can't give them extra
possessions by turning the football over. The way their offense is
playing you have to expect them to score points, and (can't) give them
extra opportunities with the ball.''
Schaub, who has been criticized for not showing enough emotion at
times, was animated when asked if the demeanor of the team changes this
time of year.
''There's no tomorrow at this time of the season,'' he said. ''If you
want to move on, you've got to bring a sense of attitude and nastiness
with you to go out and dominate your opponent on every play.''
A look at the Division Playoff machup between the Houston Texans and the New England Patriots…