2010 season in review: Quarterback


Top performer: Matt Schaub (16 starts, 365-of-572 passing, 63.6 completion percentage, 4,370 yards, 24 TDs, 12 INTs, 92.0 passer rating)

Newcomers: Matt Leinart (free agency)

Major injuries: None

Position coach: Greg Knapp (16th NFL season, 1st with Texans)

Year in review: Schaub started all 16 games for the second consecutive season. He ranked third in the NFL in completions, fourth in passing yards, eighth in completion percentage and ninth in passer rating and was selected as an alternate for the 2011 Pro Bowl.

After throwing for 4,770 yards in 2009, Schaub became the 12th quarterback in NFL history with 4,000 yards in back-to-back seasons. He became the sixth quarterback to throw for a combined 9,000 yards over the course of two seasons. He set the Texans' career records in passing yards and victories in 2010 and now holds nearly every team single-season and career passing mark, including career yards (14,426) and touchdowns (77).

Schaub led two comeback victories in 2010 in which the Texans trailed by double digits in the fourth quarter. The first came at Washington in Week 2, a 30-27 overtime victory, and the second was a 34-31 victory over the Chiefs in Week 6. Schaub has led seven game-winning drives in four seasons with the Texans.

Dan Orlovsky, who signed with the Texans in 2009, was Schaub's backup all season after winning the job in the preseason. He appeared in one game but did not have any pass attempts, taking only one snap for Schaub at the end of the first half at Philadelphia on Dec. 2.

Leinart, a fifth-year veteran, signed with the Texans after the 2010 preseason and served as the team's third quarterback. The former Heisman Trophy winner and starter for the Arizona Cardinals earned praise from Texans head coach Gary Kubiak throughout the year for his ability and grasp of the offense.

Season highlight: The two late-game comebacks stand out for Schaub. In Week 2, he threw for a team-record 497 yards, including 332 in the second half alone. His 34-yard touchdown pass to Andre Johnson on fourth-and-10 tied the game and sent it to overtime. His 28-yard pass to Joel Dreessen in overtime set up a short field goal for Neil Rackers.

In Week 6, Schaub threw the game-winning touchdown pass to Johnson with 28 seconds remaining. The Texans trailed 21-7 in the third quarter before winning 35-31. Schaub went 25-of-33 (75.8 percent) with 305 yards and two touchdowns and was named the AFC Offensive Player of the Week.

Season lowlight: In Week 14 on Monday Night Football, against one of the best defenses in football in the Ravens, Schaub led two 95-yard scoring drives in the fourth quarter to tie the game at 28 with 21 seconds left to play. The Texans had trailed by 21 points in the third quarter.

But on the Texans' second play of overtime, Schaub threw a pick-six to end the game. It came on second-and-10 from Houston's nine-yard line; Schaub floated a pass to his left that went into the hands of cornerback Josh Wilson, who waltzed into the end zone for a 12-yard touchdown. The loss left the Texans with a 5-8 record and virtually no chance at the playoffs.

Notable number: 64.8 – Schaub's completion percentage over the course of his seven-year NFL career. It ranks fifth all-time among passers with at least 1,500 career attempts.

Key splits: Like the entire Texans offense, Schaub fared much better in the second half than the first half in 2010. His numbers:

First half
1,654 passing yards, 59.4 completion percentage, 9 TDs, 7 INTs, 79.3 passer rating
Second half/OT
2,716 passing yards, 66.9 completion percentage, 15 TDs, 5 INTs, 101.9 passer rating

Schaub had a 69.6 passer rating in the first quarter compared to a 116.6 rating in the third quarter. Interestingly enough, from 2007-09, Schaub had a much better first-half quarterback rating (98.6) than he did in the second half and overtime (89.4).

Schaub had a 109.2 rating in the Texans' six victories in 2010, and an 83.7 rating in their 10 losses. Since 2007, he has a 106.2 rating in his 25 victories as a starter and an 82.8 rating in 29 losses.

Quotable: "Like I've said before about Matt, if he's healthy, he's very capable of being the top quarterback in this league. He went out and showed that today."
- Andre Johnson, in the locker room after the Texans' Week 6 victory over the Chiefs, on Schaub

Looking ahead: Schaub, who turns 30 in June, and Orlovsky, who'll be 28 in August, are under contract for 2011. Schaub will be in his fifth season under Kubiak, in charge of a passing offense that has ranked fourth or better in every season since 2008.

Leinart, who's 28, is scheduled to become a free agent depending on the terms of a new collective bargaining agreement. The Texans like Leinart, and he said that he enjoyed learning from Kubiak, Knapp and Schaub in 2010. He also said after the season that he would like the chance to be a starter somewhere.

Leinart just finished his fifth season, so he'll be an unrestricted free agent if the requirement to become unrestricted returns to four years as it was under the previous CBA. If the requirement remains at six years, as it was last year, Leinart would be restricted.

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