Recapping the majory storylines from the Texans' 17-10 loss to the Minnesota Vikings on Monday Night Football:
Schaub sprains ankle: Quarterback Matt Schaub sprained his left ankle late in the second quarter on a bootleg run to the right sideline. He expects "without a doubt" to play in Week 1 against the Jets.
The injury occurred after Schaub gained five yards to the Minnesota 22-yard line. He was in a protective boot after the game for precautionary reasons.
"As I went out of bounds, I don't know if I caught a little divot in the ground or if going onto that rubber—whatever it is—turf over there, (but) I just felt a little something in my ankle and it kind of progressively got a little sore," he said. "I was able to stay in there and just came in at the half and figured it was best to just get some treatment on it and proceed that way."
After the injury, Schaub stayed in the game for seven more snaps to close out the first half. He completed all four of his pass attempts for 58 yards in that span and led the Texans on two scoring drives resulting in 10 points. He finished the half 10-of-14 for 108 yards and an interception.
Texans coach Gary Kubiak said that Schaub would have been able to play in the third quarter had this been a regular season game. Kubiak made the decision to sit Schaub after consulting with head athletic trainer Geoff Kaplan.
"He just thought that it was better that we didn't push the envelope where we're at right now with the season fixing to start," Kubiak said.
Injury roundup:Wide receiver Kevin Walter left the game with tightness in his hamstring in the second quarter and did not return. He will be evaluated in the morning. Fullback Vonta Leach has a lower leg bruise that he suffered late in the second quarter on Steve Slaton's four-yard touchdown run. Leach returned to the game and should be fine.
Kubiak said that safety Eugene Wilson, who was injured in the third quarter when Brett Favre threw an illegal crackback block into his left knee, will be OK.
"It happened; it's done," Wilson said of Favre's block. "I don't have too much to say about it. I didn't speak to him about it to see if it was on purpose or not. So I'm not sure."
Run defense struggles, pass rush improves:The Texans struggled to stop the run for the second consecutive game, allowing 180 rushing yards on 6.0 yards per carry. Seventy-five of those yards came on one carry, Adrian Peterson's touchdown on the first play of the game.
The Texans shut out the Vikings in the second half and recorded a preseason-high four sacks, including two by defensive tackle Jeff Zgonina, along with six quarterback hits. Defensive end Mario Williams and linebacker DeMeco Ryans had the other two sacks.
"I thought we pressured the quarterback well," Kubiak said. "I thought we made him get rid of the football. Frank's (Bush) going to be aggressive; that's his nature and that's what we want to do on defense."
Minimizing the mistakes:Backup quarterback Dan Orlovsky went 7-of-11 for 74 yards, but he turned the ball over in the red zone for the second consecutive game. On first-and-10 from the 13-yard line in the third quarter, Orlovsky tried to force a slant pass to Andre Johnson and was intercepted by safety Madieu Williams.
Before the turnover, Orlovsky was four-of-four for 59 yards on the drive, including a perfect 46-yard pass to Johnson deep down the left sideline that hit Johnson in stride.
Orlovsky also mixed the good and the bad last week against the Saints, throwing an impressive 23-yard touchdown pass to André Davis but also throwing an interception and fumbling in the red zone.
"The disappointment is how many great things this young man does, but the consistency is what we're looking for," Kubiak said. "That's the difference in him becoming a good quarterback in this league. He's got all the ability, but whether he becomes a big-time starter and a heck of a quarterback in this league is about decision-making for him. I've got to coach him hard enough and Kyle's (Shanahan) got to coach him hard enough that these decisions are automatic."
Thoughts on Favre: Brett Favre finished 13-of-18 for 142 yards and a touchdown, a 28-yard screen pass to Chester Taylor. He was sacked twice and had a 113.7 rating.
"He's obviously starting to get more comfortable than he was last week," Kubiak said. "I'm glad to see him back in the game. I think the world of him, and heck, if he wants to keep playing, it's good for the National Football League."
Favre was limited to mostly short passes, but several Texans defenders were impressed with his performance.
"He came out there and made plays, and he still has a cannon," linebacker Zac Diles said. "He can still throw that ball extremely hard."
Short duty for Sage:Former Texans backup Sage Rosenfels was the third Vikings quarterback to enter the game. Rosenfels, who was traded to the Vikings this offseason, entered the game with 8:11 left in the fourth quarter after Tarvaris Jackson played one series. He went 2-of-3 for 26 yards.
Moving forward:The Texans reportedly traded defensive tackle Travis Johnson to the San Diego Chargers earlier on Monday. The trade has not yet been made official, but Kubiak said that the team is moving forward without Johnson.
"We're haven't had Travis throughout the offseason, throughout training camp – we haven't had him," Kubiak said. "We've had to move on. We had to prepare with the players we had. We went with two young kids (DelJuan Robinson and Frank Okam), and we're moving on."
Kubiak said that Johnson is healthy and could have played in the game tonight. A first-round draft pick in 2005, Johnson started 54 games and recorded 107 tackles in four seasons with the Texans.
"We made a decision to go in another direction – just exactly what I told him, Kubiak said. "He did everything I asked him to do. I wish him the best in San Diego."