About a month ago, it appeared the Houston Texans might be the top seed in the AFC, but now many might argue they’re the weakest team left in the NFL playoffs. Quarterback Matt Schaub and the team edged Cincinnati, but didn’t seem to shake off any of the doubters who came on board when the team lost three of four games to end the season.
That run started with a 42-14 pasting at New England, and the Texans will head back there this weekend. Despite the criticism, Schaub insists the Texans will give the Patriots all they can handle.
Matt Schaub joined KILT in Houston with Nick Wright and John Lopez to discuss the victory over Cincinnati, his emotions after the game, throwing a pick-six in the first half, why the team was forced into throwing the ball short, a big game for tight end Owen Daniels, returning to New England after losing 42-14 there last month and the criticism the team is facing.
Given some of the pressure of the game, what was your initial reaction after the victory?:
“We were excited to get a win; we were excited to get back on track. It was good for us the way the game shook out. It took everybody and everyone rose to the occasion and played outstanding. It was a total team effort and we were excited to make that first step and to move on.”
The cameras did a good job of catching your reaction after Arian clinched the game with the first down and you looked relieved:
“It was a combination. … I think all of it had built up going back to last year, not being able to be out there with my guys, not being able to be a part of the last month and a half of the season. All of the work and all the energy spent to get back healthy and be out there with my guys, and the determination and motivation to see this thing through. Yeah, the last month hasn’t gone how our team had planned or how I had planned, but we couldn’t control that. All we could do is go out and win a football game on Saturday.”
What was going through your mind when you threw the pick-six?:
“You move on to the next play. It’s not like that was the first interception for a touchdown I’ve ever thrown. It’s not the first time we’ve had to deal with adversity as a football team or, individually, me as a player. … We had handled the entire first half, as a football team. We were dominating the line of scrimmage, our defense was playing outstanding, and I know I can’t force those things, but I made a mistake. It was one mistake in the game and you just come back to the next play.”
On trying to use short passes to make bigger plays and the team’s struggles in the red zone:
“We got down in there the one possession and I tried a pass … and we had a man-to-man look and thought we could’ve got a holding call on one of their guys and didn’t get it. … We had a penalty in the second half on one of our possessions that put us back. … Knowing that you don’t want to force things and jam it into coverage in the end zone, our defense is playing outstanding, and let’s get it to a two-score game. … You’re just trying to take what the give you and not try and force the ball. Yeah, of course, you want to pick up every first down and convert every third down in the red zone and score touchdowns, but at the sake of risking any kind of disaster, that’s not worth it.”
Were the short passes the game plan going in or a reaction to what the defense was showing?:
“They had a plan. They have a good secondary, also, a good defense. They were top five or six in the league coming out of the regular season, and their secondary is very good. They’re veteran players back there and they don’t want to give up the big play. … They were playing our bootleg game pretty well, so we couldn’t get out on the edge. We had to take what they would give us.”
On Owen Daniels having nine receptions:
“O.D., he played huge. He was getting nicked up a lot throughout the game, but he just kept battling for us. Whenever we called on him to make a play, he went and made it. We had some good matchups with him in the game … and whenever he got a chance, O.D. stepped up huge for us.”
What are your thoughts on the rematch with the New England Patriots, who won big in the first meeting?:
“We’re excited about it; we’re looking forward to that challenge. Obviously we didn’t play near our type of football or the way we’re capable of playing when we went up there. We’re looking to right that ship.”
How do you feel when the Patriots’ color commentator calls the Texans frauds?:
“We don’t care about that. No one cares. It’s someone’s opinion and they’re entitled to that. It’s motivation. We’re going to go up there and we’re going to play good football and we’re going to give them everything they can handle.”