Schaub under pressure in Houston

The SportsXchange

HOUSTON -- The wolves are howling at the door of Houston Texans quarterback Matt Schaub, and with good reason.

For the third consecutive game, Schaub threw an interception that was returned for a touchdown Sunday, and it came at the worst possible time.

After leading the Seattle Seahawks 20-3 late in the third quarter, the Texans were ahead 20-13 with less than three minutes left in the fourth. They faced third-and-4 at the Seahawks 40-yard line.

Coach Gary Kubiak called for a bootleg to Schaub's right. The quarterback rolled out and was blitzed by strong safety Kam Chancellor. Rather than take the sack or throw the ball away, Schaub tried to force a pass to tight end Owen Daniels.

Seattle cornerback Richard Sherman intercepted the ball and returned it 58 yards for a game-tying touchdown.

After the game, both the quarterback and the coach tried to take blame for the play. All things considered, both were at fault.

"I take responsibility," Kubiak said. "I put (Schaub) in a bad situation as a coach. Obviously we have to protect the ball. Probably should have run the ball there and punt and play defense."

According to Sherman, the Texans probably should have done anything other than what they did. He knew it was coming.

Sherman said the Seahawks had the Texans' tendency on third-and-short scouted perfectly, recalling that he picked off a pass against the scout team in practice last Friday. Seattle sent Chancellor on a blitz opposite of Sherman, who then abandoned his initial coverage to take on Daniels.

"It was a play that we've seen on film that they like to run on short yardage," Sherman said. "It was one of those plays that you have to take the opportunity for what it was. If you jump it, you're pretty much leaving the safety one-on-one with the corner route behind you."

Bottom line for Houston, the Texans lost 23-20 in overtime despite Schaub throwing for 355 yards and the offense generating 476 yards against the NFL's No. 1 defense.

Although the play-call was partly to blame, Schaub should have done what a 10-year veteran ought to do -- throw it away or take the sack.

Despite back-to-back losses, Kubiak won't replace Schaub with backup T.J. Yates.

"I've got confidence in Matt because he's done a lot of good things, but we've got to eliminate some of the mistakes," Kubiak said. "We've got to get more consistent in what we're doing. I have to help him a lot better than I'm helping him right now."

Fans and media are blasting Schaub and the Texans. He's public enemy No. 1. Fans burned his No. 8 jersey in the parking lot after booing him during the game.

"Fans are going to be fans," said receiver Andre Johnson, who had nine catches for 110 yards. "You have some that are loyal. You have some that are fair weather, and they only come around when you win.

"I've been here when it was 2-14, and there was hardly anybody in the stands, so I really don't care about what fans think. A lot of them don't understand what players go through. They can talk about what they want to talk about.

"You hate to see anybody go through it. (Schaub is) going to get all of criticism, but you can blame it on me. There was a third-down play I didn't make. You can't really just point the finger at one guy. This is the ultimate team game, and when one guy messes up, it can blow it for everybody."

Schaub was visibly shaken after the game.

"I should have just probably ditched it right at (Daniels') feet or held it and just live to punt and let our defense play," Schaub said. "It hurts bad. We were playing very well. We had a lot of big plays in the game against a very good defense. We moved the ball. We had them on the ropes.

"I'm the quarterback of this team. I have the ball in my hands."

Schaub didn't buy into Kubiak taking the blame.

"Me and him, we're joined at the hip," Schaub said. "We've had the same mindset as far as this position. He might hold us to a higher standard, but as far as being the quarterback of this team, I hold us, as a group, to a higher standard than even that.

"We have to just come back to work and get ready to go beat San Francisco. That's our task that we're challenged with."
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