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The End of an Era

Matt Schaub came to the Texans in March of 2007 and the Texans began again. He leaves seven years later as the club reloads for another era.

During his time here, Schaub gave us a bunch of exhilarating victories, workmanlike wins and some excruciating losses. He helped take this team from a pedestrian squad to one of the best in the NFL. But the epitaph on his tenure unfortunately leads with the meltdown of 2013.

Trust me, there will be days when you will miss Matt Schaub. OK, certainly not the 2013 version but the man who brought you the team's first winning season in 2009.  Schaub rallied the squad from a two touchdown fourth quarter deficit to knock off New England in the season finale and give Houston a chance at the playoffs. He led the NFL in passing yards that year and won Pro Bowl MVP honors.

The year before, he would cap off two injury plagued seasons to help the team to a 3-1 finish and an 8-8 record. It was a rough campaign that began with a four game losing streak in the wake of Hurricane Ike. Schaub gave us much hope when, after missing four games with an injury, he outdueled Aaron Rogers at Lambeau Field, throwing for 414 yards in a last second victory.

In 2010, Schaub would throw for over 4,000 yards again, including a thrilling 497 yard performance against Washington, hitting Andre Johnson for a TD on 4th and 10 to force overtime. But the defense cratered that year, ushering in the Wade Phillips era and a defense that would beautifully compliment one of the better offenses in the league.

Had he not gotten injured in the 2011 week 10 win over Tampa Bay, the Texans might have done more than their eventual divisional round exit against the Ravens in Baltimore. But he did.

His return in 2012 was part of monster effort that vaulted Houston to an 11-1 start, including a 527 yard, five touchdown performance in an OT win against Jacksonville.

Then the wheels came off of Schaub and the team in New England and they never really recovered. Not that a second AFC South Championship and second playoff win was anything to sneeze at. Those accomplishments should be applauded. But the Texans had home field advantage throughout the playoffs in the crosshairs and missed badly.

It's easy to say Schaub had a terrible year in 2013. But the rally against San Diego in the Monday Night Football opener was superb. And even though he threw the pick-6 against Tennessee that put Houston in a hole late in week two, he threw the game winning TD pass in overtime.

We might never know exactly why the Schaub era crashed and burned so spectacularly. Did he lose his touch? Was coaching part of it? Did the team's culture take too much of a negative turn to overcome the errors?

It's probably the combination of a lot of things. It's over now. Schaub is a Raider and the media is applauding Rick Smith for getting a sixth round draft choice for him.

Like the David Carr era, Schaub's tenure ends badly. But we shouldn't forget some of the very good times he brought to the gridiron here in Houston. He made a ton of plays that many took for granted.

It will be tough to quickly find a remedy at quarterback to match what Schaub did here when he was at his best. There is much work to do.

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