The Houston Texans snatched defeat from the jaws of victory in Week 4.
After being staked to a 20-3 lead, they eventually fell at home to the Seattle Seahawks, dropping their second straight game and falling out of first place in the AFC South.
A big part of the Seattle comeback was a shaky second half from quarterback Matt Schaub. Granted, Schaub threw for 355 yards in the game, but he also tossed a pair of second-half interceptions, including one that was returned for a touchdown by Seattle cornerback Richard Sherman.
The Texans' second-half collapse has the Houston fanbase grumbling, and it's a familiar refrain:
@MSchaub8 u should bench yourself after that poor display. team worked so hard and u could not come through when they needed u most.— Atom (@tx_atom) September 29, 2013
It begs the question? Is Matt Schaub a good enough quarterback to take the Texans to the promised land?
The answer to that question is...it depends on how much he'll have to do to get them there.
A look at Schaub's game-by-game stats this season tells you all you really need to know about the 32-year-old.
Against a woeful San Diego secondary, he was able to engineer a furious second-half comeback and lead the Texans to a win.
The sledding was tougher against a vastly improved Tennessee Titans defense in Week 2, but at home, Schaub and the Texans squeaked out an overtime win.
In Week 3, however, the Texans were outclassed in every area by the defending Super Bowl champions, a game in which Schaub played poorly.
In the first half of the game with the Seahawks, it appeared that Schaub and the Texans had exorcised the ghosts of the prior week's setback.
Schaub looked fantastic, throwing two touchdown passes and topping 200 yards against arguably the NFL's best defense.
However, football games have two halves, and as Seattle clawed back into the game, it started to happen:
Matt Schaub is REALLY trying to get Seattle the win— trey wingo (@wingoz) September 29, 2013
And that's the thing. You wouldn't think it would happen to a passer with his experience, a veteran who has started (and won) playoff games.
But Matt Schaub has a nasty habit of choking when the pressure mounts against good teams.
Against "inferior" opposition, he seems perfectly adept at leading the Texans back from early deficits. Of course, the fact that Houston all too often finds itself in early holes against underdogs is an issue in and of itself.
In close games against playoff contenders, though, Schaub starts hearing footsteps and forcing passes. John McClain of The Houston Chronicle noticed it against Seattle:
Watching Matt Schaub play right now is kind of pitiful. He's under pressure and ducking and actually running on third and long.— John McClain (@McClain_on_NFL) September 29, 2013
Even if you give Schaub a pass on his first interception:
That only added to the pressure, which led to the ill-advised throw that Sherman returned for a score.
None of this is exactly breaking news. Most people have known who Matt Schaub is for some time now.
He's a good quarterback on a team built around defense and running the football. Andy Dalton with a better arm.
When the running game is working and setting up play action and the defense is playing lights out (like in the first half on Sunday), Schaub can look really good.
However, the greater the pressure and the more it falls on Schaub's shoulders to put the team on his back, the less chance the Texans have of winning football games.
Given that in the playoffs that's more apt to happen than not, it's an unfortunate reality for the Texans, and one that many fans aren't coping with very well.
Texans fans burning a Matt Schaub jersey after the OT loss to Seahawks: pic.twitter.com/VFcrjjZ3VP— NFL Retweet (@NFLRT) September 29, 2013
Jeez guys, do you know how much one of those jerseys costs?