It was a laid-back Matt Schaub who had an easy smile on his face after an AFC Pro Bowl practice at Kapolei High School. Here, on one edge of the island of Oahu, the Texans quarterback finally had a chance to remove himself from the disappointment of the end of the season.
"It's tough as players; the last thing on your mind or the last thing that happened was a disappointment of the season ending," Schaub said. "As a group, everybody rebounds pretty well. Come out here and sort of put things behind you and put an end to the season and enjoy yourself."
Schaub and the rest of the Texans' Pro Bowl selections — nine in all — are less than two weeks removed from the bitter disappointment of a season that ended earlier than they'd hoped or expected. In the aftermath of the Texans' 41-28 loss to the New England Patriots in the divisional round of the playoffs, a great deal of the blame from fans and media fell squarely on Schaub.
"I'm aware of it," Schaub said. "I understand. As players, as a quarterback, you're the first one to get criticized when you don't get things done. You get a lot of praise — sometimes more than you deserve — when you win. As you get closer to the end of the thing, things are magnified even more so. It's the nature of the business; I understand that. I can get better, the team can get better, and we're going to focus on those things, and we're going to get right back there."
In the Texans' postseason elimination, Schaub threw for 343 yards and two touchdowns with one interception, but both TDs came after the Patriots had taken a 38-13 lead in the fourth quarter.
QB rating plummets
The end to Schaub's season was as languid as the team's. He finished the campaign with a 90.7 passer rating, a number significantly depressed in the Texans' three December losses, in which Schaub had ratings of 68.8, 72.1 and 66.3. In the last four regular-season games and the first postseason game, Schaub totaled only one touchdown pass.
There were games in which Schaub shone. In seven, his rating was 100 or better. He eclipsed 115 four times, including in the Texans' Week 3 win at Denver, where Schaub outplayed the Broncos' Peyton Manning. In an overtime game against the Jacksonville Jaguars, Schaub threw for 527 yards, a total that ranks second in NFL history.
"I think results changed," Schaub said, when asked if he thought his play changed late in the season. "I don't know about the way I played. We played good football teams, teams that were fighting for their lives and playoff spots. You want to play at a certain level all the time. It's hard to play that perfect game."
Pro Bowl allows Schaub to get away from it all
Houston Chronicle | Jan 24