“I just think right now that we are battling like heck. We are a football team that got off to a very bad start this year. We are out there battling for respect, trying to become a good football team." - coach Gary Kubiak
The Houston Texans won their third straight game (the second time this season they have done that) and improved to 6-7, as Matt Schaub made his first start since being injured against the Minnesota Vikings which forced him to miss the last 4 games. Schaub threw for 414 yards, a franchise record, with a pair of touchdowns and one interception, firmly establishing himself as the "franchise quarterback" the Texans have longed for since their inception.
Now, if he could just stay healthy!
Schaub got plenty of help too, as Steve Slaton rushed for 120 yards to go over the 1,000 yard mark for the season, Kevin Walter had a season-high 146 yards receiving and Andre Johnson caught a TD pass and a 2-point conversion.
And Kris Brown made the 11th game-winning field goal of his career, his 8th since joining the Texans in 2002.
Schaub, however, was the sparkplug in his return. With two minutes left in the game and the score tied at 21, the Packers pinned the Texans at their own three-yard line with a Jeremy Kapinos punt. Schaub ran the two-minute drill to perfection, marching the Texans downfield with a 22-yard pass to fullback Vonta Leach, two passes for 21 yards to receiver David Anderson and a 27-yard toss to tight end Owen Daniels that moved the Texans to the 25-yard line and set up Brown’s deciding field goal.
“I’m really happy just for the team, and especially for Matt. After the game, he just came up and gave me a big hug," wide receiver Andre Johnson said.
The Texans amassed a team-record 549 yards of offense in the win. It was Schaub’s third 300-yard passing game in eight starts this season.
CBS' Shannon Sharpe gave credit to the Texans post game and also mentioned what most of us have already learned. "This team can be outstanding, if they just learn how to take care of the football. When they learn how to take care of the football, the Houston Texans have as good an offesne as anyone in the National Football League."
Schaub, however, would not take all the credit, but spread it all around. “Our offensive line is really coming together. They are playing extremely well, so we are getting the running game going and the passing game going." The Texans line has been a focal point of criticism throughout the franchise's short history, particularly during the David Carr era but is now also becoming a strength to this football team. In the past three games, the Texans have allowed just 2 sacks.
Still, the big corner the Texans turned was finally winning a game that had been impossible for them to win all season. One in which they rurned the ball over, on the road, and still overcame. “Our group had every reason at some point to fold with the turnovers hurting us, but this group is made up of a lot of character and that is as good a win that I have ever been around. We are on cloud nine right now," Kubiak said.
And how was Schaub after the game? “It’s hard to describe, just a lot of excitement for the guys that are in that locker room because every single guy put it on the line today. We needed everybody in order to win that game. We had every opportunity to win it early on and we gave them opportunities to get back in the game, which they did. And then we just had to make another play. We were able to do that and overcome the adversity of being backed up on that last drive. Guys just ended up making plays, and it’s just exciting for our team.”
(quotes credited to houstontexans.com and sportsline.com)