Quarterback Matt Schaub led the league with a team-record 4,770 passing yards in 2009.
In quarterback Matt Schaub's first 16-game season with the Texans in three tries, he led the league in passing yards as he guided Houston to the best record in team history.
SEASON IN REVIEW: QUARTERBACKS
Week 1 starter:Matt Schaub
Week 17 starter:Schaub
Key injuries:Schaub (sprained ankle, preseason; separated shoulder, Week 14)
By the numbers (top statistical performer): Schaub (4,770 passing yards, 29 TDs, 15 INTs, 396-of-583 passing [67.9%], 98.6 passer rating)
Season overview:The Texans knew that Schaub was capable of big things if he could stay healthy for 16 games. He validated those expectations and then some in 2009.
Schaub led the NFL with a team-record 4,770 passing yards, the sixth-highest total in NFL history. He finished in the top seven in attempts and completions (first), completion percentage (fourth), touchdowns (fifth) and passer rating (seventh). He had nine 300-yard passing games.
"It's very rewarding," Schaub said of his season. "I just feel privileged to be in an offense that allows us to do those type of things and have the guys on the offensive side that can make those plays. There were a lot of plays that were made that, believe me, it wasn't me making anything special. It was just me giving a guy a chance and him making a play."
Schaub did it all despite the Texans having the 30th-ranked running game in the league, averaging 92.2 yards per game. Schaub also was without one of his primary targets (tight end Owen Daniels) and two starting guards (Chester Pitts and Mike Brisiel) for much of the season.
Schaub's toughness was scrutinized after he missed five games in both 2007 and 2008. This season, he started all 16 games for the first time in his six-year career. Backup quarterback Rex Grossman was needed for part of only one game.
That game was at Jacksonville in Week 14, which provided one of the defining moments of Schaub's season. Schaub was sacked on the game's first play and suffered a separated left shoulder. Midway through the second quarter, he returned from the locker room with a harness on his shoulder and nearly led the Texans to a comeback victory.
"When he came out of the locker room in Jacksonville after that first play of the game, it lifted the team, the coaching staff, it lifted everybody," Texans coach Gary Kubiak said. "He made huge progress as a football player this year. He's got himself in the company of some great ones now, and now he needs to propel his team to the next level."
2010 outlook:This was just the third season as a starter for Schaub, 28. The prospect of a healthy Owen Daniels – who's a potential restricted free agent – and a healthy offensive line, along with what the Texans hope will be a more effective running game, make the future even brighter for Schaub and the offense.
Schaub has formed one of the most potent quarterback-receiver connections in the league with Andre Johnson, who led the league with 1,569 receiving yards in 2009. Johnson and Schaub became the first teammates since 1998 to lead the league in passing and receiving yards in the same season.
The Texans will have a new offensive coordinator with Kyle Shanahan now in Washington, but the offense is not likely to change much – if at all – with Kubiak in charge. And Schaub will be in Houston for the foreseeable future, as Texans owner Bob McNair announced after the season that the team will pick up the option on his contract.
"It means a lot when your owner steps up and talks about you in that light, you know he's behind you and behind the head coach and we're all in this together: players, coaches, staff, the ownership," Schaub said. "We're all in this together and we're going to keep climbing that mountain."