Thomas Campbell-USA TODAY Sports
Pressure is on Matt Schaub to step up his game.
Based on his play down the stretch run of the 2012 regular season, the perception is that Matt Schaub has trouble winning in big games.
The Texans were sitting in the driver's seat with a record of 11-1 and a golden opportunity to clinch home-field advantage in the AFC playoffs. But the team faded badly down the stretch, losing three of its final four games. Losses to Minnesota at home and to Indianapolis on the road led NFL analysts to question if Houston was as good a team as people thought.
The only way for Schaub to prove all of the doubters wrong is to come up with some impressive performances in the postseason. It doesn't help Schaub's case that he had to sit out the Texans' first playoff win in franchise history last season due to injury.
Schaub has plenty of weapons to work with. He has a great running back in Arian Foster, who gained 1,424 yards rushing this year and led the NFL in rushing touchdowns. Foster has a reliable backup in Ben Tate to help keep him fresh. Then there is No. 1 receiver Andre Johnson, who turned in a stellar 2012 season with 1,598 receiving yards.
The Houston defense is ranked No. 7 overall this year, which is another strong asset that gives Schaub confidence that he doesn't have to be perfect in order for this team to win. Then again, if he performs in the playoffs like he did in December, the Texans will have a short run in the playoffs.
Houston had five games in December, and the best that you can say about Schaub's performance in December is that it was wildly inconsistent. In the two wins, he threw three touchdown passes and had no interceptions. His quarterback passer rating scores were 95.8 and 109.7.
In the three December losses, Schaub had no touchdown passes and threw three interceptions. His QB passer ratings were 68.7, 72.1 and 66.3.
Schaub has the opportunity to correct the perception that he can't win in big games, but if he doesn't take this team to the Super Bowl, the doubters will be pouring it on.