The Houston Texans started the 2012 NFL season 11-1, but finished 12-4. That fact alone sums up their entire season as well as the career of their quarterback, Matt Schaub. The guy simply can’t finish, which is why Houston was ousted in the divisional round after fumbling away the No. 1 seed in the AFC over the last four weeks of the season. That’s not to say he’s a Tony Romo-type who throws an interception when the game is on the line. No, Schaub’s problem resembles that of a magic trick.
Houston’s problem is Schaub disappearing late in games and late in the season. Schaub threw for just over 4,000 yards this year, but did not have a 300-yard passing game in the final six weeks of the season.
In baseball, arm fatigue is a huge factor, especially for pitchers, who have to rest their arms after performances in order to continue playing for years to come. Although it’s not as common in football, arm fatigue does exist and Schaub has a severe case.
The Texans have a dynamite running back in Arian Foster, on whom Schaub can lean late in game, especially when Houston has the lead. However, he completely and totally disappears when his team needs him in those close contests. The lone exception to that trend was Houston’s 43-47 overtime win over the Jacksonville Jaguars this year, but that’s just it–it was the Jaguars.
There’s a reason everyone picked the New England Patriots to trounce the Texans again in the playoffs and Schaub didn’t disappoint those who picked the home team against the spread. Yes, he had 343 yards and a pair of scores, but they came way too late. So if he doesn’t disappear in the fourth quarter, he disappears in the first. What’s worse?
Houston has a pretty good team, albeit they’re overrated and played above their ability for the first half of this past season, but they don’t have any direction or leadership. That’s no knock against Schaub because it appears his inability to fix those problems isn’t in his head, it’s his arm.