The Houston Texans once high expectations ended with another crash landing in 2013. Houston won their second consecutive AFC South Division Championship, but they lost their second consecutive Divisional Championship game on the road.
Last year it was to the Baltimore Ravens. The player at fault was Jacoby Jones, but look what a fresh start did for him. He had a record-breaking season this year and made it to the Pro Bowl for the first time in his career. He also caught the tying touchdown to help send the Ravens into overtime against Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos.
Jones, Bernard Pollard, and Vonta Leach, all former Texans players told us during the season that they would see us again in the playoffs in January. They kept up their end of the bargain, but Houston didn’t.
Instead we suffered our second consecutive , second-round playoff loss at the hands of Tom Brady and the New England Patriots. My hats go off to Texans defensive back Daniel Manning, who returned kicks for over 200-plus yards, including a game opening 94-yarder. Unfortunately for him, Houston was only able to get 3 points out of his efforts.
New England defeated the Texans 41-28 and the defense gave up 457 yards of total offense, ending their Super Bowl dreams at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Massachuetts.
It would have been nice if the Texans would have been playing this Sunday, January 20th, because Houston could have been hosting the AFC Championship game at Reliant Stadium in a rematch with the Baltimore Ravens, if they could have upset the Patriots.
Instead, this season finished at the exact same place the previous one did, with the Texans winning the AFC South, advancing with a playoff victory at Reliant Stadium and then losing in the second round on the road.
“Words really can’t describe it,” Texans wide receiver Andre Johnson said. “You work so hard to help this organization, yourself, the team, everybody, the city back home – you want everybody to be part of something special. For it to end like this, it’s painful, man.”
And for it to end like this at this point in Johnson’s career is painful. Remember the letters “NFL”. They don’t just stand for National Football League; they also stand for “Not for long”. Only time and God knows how much longer Johnson and some of the older players will have left to have a chance to get to play for a championship in the Super Bowl.
We need a change at quarterback to make Houston great! Yes, I know that Matt Schaub is head coach Gary Kubiak’s guy, and yes I know that Kubiak is still very committed to developing Schaub; however you can’t help but look at the real picture.
Matt Schaub is a system-style quarterback, not an elite quarterback. He needs to be worked with to develop the talent that he does have, and teach him the many things that he doesn’t possess.
Johnson had several games throughout the season where he only caught 2 to 4 balls in a game, and he still had a career year. So I can’t help but wonder why is someone of his caliber not being utilized every game? Why do we continue to throw those little short passes and why can’t the Houston offense convert plays on third-down and in the red zone?
Yes, Schaub threw for 343 yards and two touchdowns, but that wasn’t enough! Yes, the defense gave up a lot of yards, but if the offense was scoring more, they wouldn’t have to be out there as much!
Schaub, 31, signed a contract extension with $29 million guaranteed. That includes his signing bonus and a guaranteed $7.25 million salary in 2013. He’ll be the Texans starter for at least next season and probably the next two.
But for the Texans to go deeper into the playoffs, and for them to reach a Super Bowl, Schaub will have to get better! The way he played in December and January will not get it done! Some of the receivers had balls thrown to them as if they were 6’8-7-2. That’s just not possible to humanly catch something like that!
Head coach Gary Kubiak keeps talking about it being his job to keep pushing Matt Schaub toward greatness. It took too long for Dom Capers to realize that David Carr was not the one, and I’m sorry, but Matt Schaub isn’t the one either.
Schaub is never going to be mobile enough to do any damage with his legs. He doesn’t have a strong-enough arm to challenge opponents. His strength is his intelligence. He has to play smart and make all the right throws, all the right reads, and then he has to execute them!
It’s unfair to compare Schaub to the Patriots Tom Brady, who with Sunday’s Divisional victory over the Texans, passed former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Joe Montana for the all-time lead in career playoff wins. Brady led New England to their first Super Bowl title back when Schaub was a 20-year old sophomore at Virginia.
Despite what’s been said, Matt Schaub’s job is safe. He feels like he belongs with all the eight quarterbacks who played in divisional games over the weekend.
“There is no doubt that I belong,” Schaub said. “I belong right up there with every one of them.” But if you check the divisional games, and you look at their performances, Schaub was the least dynamic of the eight quarterbacks.
Coach Kubiak doesn’t have any doubts, because Schaub has won a lot of football games. They are going to continue to push him to a new level as a player, but hopefully the results won’t continue to be the same old push!