The Texans' quarterbacks set a franchise single-season record in 2008 with 4,267 net passing yards, giving the team the fourth-ranked passing offense in the NFL.
Matt Schaub started 11 games in his second season in Houston, throwing for 3,000-plus yards and leading the Texans to a 6-5 record. Backup Sage Rosenfels was 2-3 as a starter when Schaub missed four games with an MCL injury and one game with an illness.
Schaub and Rosenfels' success allowed wide receiver Andre Johnson to lead the league in receptions and receiving yards. Schaub finished in the top 10 among all quarterbacks in several major passing categories, and the Texans tied for 13th in the NFL with 21 touchdown passes.
The Texans also threw the second-highest amount of interceptions in the NFL this season with 20. Of the team's 32 turnovers, which were the third-most in the league, Schaub and Rosenfels accounted for 26 (20 interceptions, six fumbles).
Schaub: When healthy, Schaub posted elite numbers. He was fourth in the NFL with 276.6 passing yards/game, fourth with a 66.1 percent completion rate, seventh with a 92.7 passer rating and second with 8.01 yards/attempt.
He finished 10th with 24 big plays (passes of 25 yards) despite missing five games; every player but one who was ahead of Schaub in that category played a full 16-game slate. He had 15 touchdowns and 10 interceptions, lost four fumbles and was sacked 23 times.
The more Schaub played, the better he got. After a rough two-game start that included the worst game of his career at Tennessee (188 yards, no touchdowns and three interceptions), Schaub posted a 102.3 passer rating in his final nine games. In his first 13 quarters of the season (through the first quarter of the Miami game), he had eight turnovers. He had only six in the 29 quarters after that.
Schaub currently has thrown 107 consecutive passes without an interception at Reliant Stadium.
"I think one turnover (in a game) is too many," Schaub said. "It's something that we have to definitely get better on. It is one of those things that held this offense back this season. All the stats and yardage and whatever we were in the league, we held ourselves back by turnovers, but I think we got better as the year went on."
Schaub's most memorable play was his game-winning touchdown run against the Dolphins in Week 6. On fourth-and-two from the three-yard line, he took a quarterback draw over the goal line with three seconds remaining to cap a 76-yard drive and give the Texans a 29-28 victory.
His most memorable game was against Green Bay in Week 14. In three-degree weather, Schaub threw for a career- and franchise-high 414 yards with two touchdowns at Lambeau Field. He led the Texans on the 75-yard game-winning drive from their own two-yard line with 1:49 remaining.
"I don't know if I could imagine any quarterback going in there in that temperature and in that place and throwing for 414 yards," head coach Gary Kubiak said after the game. "He showed a little rust early and he just kept playing. He was very consistent throughout the day, very competitive, took some shots, made some great plays - had total command of the group and total command under a lot of pressure there at the end of the football game. I know he was chomping at the bit to get back on the field, and it's a big step in the right direction for him."
Schaub had missed the previous four games with a left knee injury suffered against the Minnesota Vikings, when he was hit low twice by defensive end Jared Allen. Allen was fined $50,000 by the NFL for the illegal hits.
Rosenfels:Rosenfels wasn't able to match his success from 2007, when he went 4-1 as a starter in place of Schaub. But his victories over the Cleveland Browns and Jacksonville Jaguars started the Texans' franchise-record four-game winning streak.
Rosenfels threw for 1,431 yards, six touchdowns, a 66.7 completion percentage and a whopping 8.2 yards/attempt. He also had 10 interceptions and lost two fumbles on his way to a passer rating of 79.5.
His season would have looked a lot better if not for his four interceptions in a blowout loss to the Ravens and three costly turnovers in a last-minute loss to the Colts.
"I'd like to play better," he said. "I felt like 95 percent of the time, I played really good football, and then five percent of the time, I played poor football. So it's a learning experience for me. I've been playing a lot the last couple of years, and that's been a lot of fun; it's been exciting. But it gives me a lot of motivation for next season."
Rosenfels posted an 83.6 passer rating over his last three starts as he focused on managing games and taking fewer risks.
Turnovers and Schaub's health were two of the biggest setbacks for the Texans' third-ranked offense this season.
A fifth-year pro, Schaub has been a full-time player for only two seasons and has missed five games in both. He was injured on two occasions by illegal hits in 2007. Schaub knows how important it will be to make it through the 2009 season unscathed.
"That's my goal for next season," Schaub said. "I'm going to make sure to get that accomplished. I can't help when guys dive at my legs or anything like that, but I'm going to do my best to be ready to go for 16 weeks next year. Other than my injury, we stayed really healthy throughout the season. So if we can keep that together, then the sky's the limit."
Equally as important will be reducing turnovers, which Kubiak said starts with the quarterbacks. The Texans were 4-0 when winning the turnover battle this season.
"I'm not pointing the finger there or putting all the blame there, but that's how hard I coach those guys," Kubiak said. "I think (Schaub) is turning into a fine, fine player. His numbers, had he played the whole season, I think he would have been right in the mix of being a Pro Bowl player. I think that's what he's capable of.
"But for him to take that next step and for our team to take that next step, that turnover margin at that position for this team has got to go down."
Rosenfels' future with the team is another item to watch. Though he has one more year left on his contract, several teams reportedly showed interest in trading for Rosenfels last offseason. Rosenfels repeatedly has stated his desire to be a starter, but he also said after the season that he loved being with the Texans.
"He's going to take a break with his family," Kubiak said. "When he comes back, we'll visit. But there's a place on this football team for Sage, and he can do a great job for us. I expect him to come back and do that."