During training camp, the Houston Texans were included in talks of Superbowl contenders for the upcoming season. On paper, the Texans look as good if not better than some of the undefeated teams in the NFL now. However, after 5 weeks, the Texans have a record of 2-3, losing three straight games and searching for answers.
The Texans traveled to San Francisco to face a great 49ers team and try to snap their losing streak. QB Matt Schaub looked to shake off the doubters as he threw three pick sixes in the last three games. In this game, Matt Schaub made history. Then, he was history.
The Texans quarterback became the first since the NFL merger to throw a pick-six in four straight games, then he added two more interceptions and was benched in the 34-3 embarrassing loss to San Francisco Sunday on national television. Schaub finished 19-of-35 for 173 yards, three picks and a 32.2 quarterback rating. Schaub now has nine interceptions (including four returned for touchdowns) and eight touchdowns this season.
Texans coach Gary Kubiak said that Schaub will remain as the Texans’ starter next week against the visiting Rams. “I believe in him as a person, I believe in him as a player,” Kubiak said. “This has to be rock bottom.”
Fans and spectators would all agree the Texans are having a disappointing season. At halftime, coach Kubiak told Michelle Tafoya of NBC that he has bigger worries with his team than Schaub. It is safe to say at this point Schaub is definitely a problem. Both Schaub and Kubiak are in bad places mentally and need to somehow find themselves in order to turn this team around.
Special teams is another area of concern as Randy Bullock continues to be unpredictable and returner Keyshawn Martin has not given the Texans that explosive edge. During training camp it seemed as if Dennis Johnson would be the best fit in the return spot for the Texans but they released him when they trimmed their roster to 53. Johnson is currently with the Cleveland Browns practice squad. Maybe they should give him a call.
Arian Foster was one of the Texans bright points as he rushed for 98 yards on 21 carries. Backup Ben Tate looks good at times but has to get a handle on his fumbling issue. Tate fumbled early in the fourth quarter, turning the ball over for a second consecutive game and abruptly ending T.J. Yates first drive after he replaced Matt Schaub at quarterback.
The frustrations seem to be building amongst teammates as well as fans. Veteran receiver Andre Johnson became visibly upset in between Matt Schaub’s fourth pick-six this season and the 49ers’ taking a 14-point lead. While the Texans’ offense converged on the sidelines after Schaub’s first interception, Johnson became animated and walked away. He ended up at the far side of the bench, 30 yards from his teammates. Johnson spent several minutes standing alone and was finally approached by backup running back Ben Tate and little-used wide receiver DeVier Posey, who gave Johnson his helmet.
After pulling out their first two victories on the last play of the game, the Texans have lost to Baltimore, Seattle and San Francisco. Since 1990, only 34 percent of teams that had a losing record after five games have made the playoffs. The 31-point deficit was the Texans’ most lopsided defeat since 2006, when New England pounded them by 33 points in Kubiak’s first season as coach. Only four times have the Texans lost by more than 31 points. The Texans have been struggling since last season’s 11-1 start. They are 4-8 over their last 12 games.
“It’s pretty low, man,” left tackle Duane Brown said. “I’ve been here a long time and been through a lot of adversity, but this is probably one of the toughest times, considering the expectations we had for ourselves coming into the season. “The last three weeks have been pretty rough. But we’ll get it turned around. We’ve got a lot of guys in here who are warriors and are going to battle through it.”
“As a team, we need to get better and get better fast, myself included, most importantly,” Schaub said. “We’ve worked too hard and I’ve worked too hard since I walked into this building to come to this right now. I’m better than I’m playing and our team is better than we’re playing. We need to all correct this very fast.”
The Texans will look to rebound against the St. Louis Rams this Sunday at 12:00pm.