On a day that they found themselves in an unexpected shootout with the 1-8 Jacksonville Jaguars, the Houston Texans had to go overtime to defeat the division rival Jags. It was an uncharacteristically off day for the defense, so they had to call upon Matt Schaub and the offense to save the day. Schaub and company were more than up to the task, as he passed for a franchise record 527 yards, tied for second most in NFL history, and a franchise record five touchdowns in Houston’s 43-37 victory.
One week after watching the defense carry the day in a 13-6 street fight over the Chicago Bears, the offense returned the favor in a shootout at Reliant Stadium. The Texans won when Andre Johnson capped a career best day with a walk-off 48 yard touchdown reception on a perfectly executed wide receiver screen. Johnson finished the day with 14 catches for a franchise record 273 yards, the ninth most receiving yards in league history. Johnson best his previous career and own franchise record of 207 yards against the Tennessee Titans in 2008.
With Arian Foster and the running game slowed down by a Jacksonville defense that was intent on stacking the box, Schaub made them pay dearly. The Jags picked their poison and by choosing to single cover Johnson, saw their upset hopes die through the air on this day.
The 527 yards that Schaub accumulated tied former Houston Oiler Warren Moon behind only Norm Van Brocklin’s 554 in 1951. Schaub had to put the ball in the air often, as the Texans fell behind by 14 points in the fourth quarter. He finished the game 43-55, a completion percentage of 78.2%. That completion percentage is the best ever by a quarterback with at least 50 pass attempts in NFL history.
Like Johnson, Schaub broke his own franchise record for yards. The previous record was 497, which he set in 2010 at the Washington Redskins, also a game that the Texans won in overtime. He did his most damage after the Texans fell behind 34-20 in the fourth quarter, and threw two touchdowns in the final 5:39 of regulation to force overtime. In that span of the fourth quarter and overtime, Schaub completed 17 consecutive passes. The final drive in overtime was the ninth game winning drive in his career.
Although Johnson had the monster game and was the main beneficiary of Schaub’s throws, he did an excellent job of spreading the ball around. Backup TE Garrett Graham had a career best game with eight catches for 82 yards and two touchdowns. Rookie WR Keshawn Martin had his first career touchdown catch and also had a big day on special teams with kickoff and punt returns. Jack-of-all trades James Casey had the other touchdown grab from Schaub.
As I mentioned earlier, the shootout victory for the Texans was a complete contrast from last week’s game. Houston found themselves in a position that they had only been in once this season, needing to come from behind to win the game.
The majority of this season, they have jumped on the opponent early and the offense just had to coast in the second half to put the game away. The offense showed that they were up to the challenge, and got the job done. The Texans finished with an insane 640 yards of total offense and a whopping 39 first downs. Schaub had more completions (43) than the Arizona Cardinals had passing yards (41) on Sunday.
The Texans improved to 9-1 with the win and showed yet again that they can win any type of game. This season, they have won a defensive battle, a shootout, several blowouts, a franchise record defensive day, and now a franchise record offensive day and come from behind victory. Houston doesn’t have long to enjoy this one, as they have a quick turnaround and short week with a game in Detroit vs the Detroit Lions on Thanksgiving Day.
Hopefully, they won’t have to put up 43 points to win that one, but the offense showed against Jacksonville that they are ore than capable of being explosive when they have to. The defense has received much of the love this season, but the Texans offense now has games where they have put up 43 points twice, 38, 31, and 30.
On a day the defense needs a pick up, the offense is capable and vice versa. On Sunday, it was the offense’s time to shine. The Schaub and Johnson combo shined indeed, in record breaking fashion.