Many Houston fans have been crying for Sage to get his chance. And today he did thanks to a flu-like sickness developed by Matt Schaub overnight. The start was his and the most popular player on the team when things are going poorly, the backup quarterback was going to lead his team to victory and turn around the season. And for a large part of the game this fairy tale story seemed like a reality show.
For most of the game he looked like a Pro Bowler, but in the end he did what he always does. He made HUGE mistakes. Sage is an aggressive player which can be great at times.
But in the NFL when you make mistakes they come back to haunt you and that is what happened today. Sage had three costly turnovers in the last five minutes of the game.
With the Texans up by ten and with the chance to run out the game or at least get it very close to the end, Sage Rosenfels became Michael Vick. No, not the dog-fighting, convicted felon. The high energy-running quarterback. Except Sage forgot he doesn't have Vick's speed or athletic ability.
Instead of sliding feet first to avoid contact, he decided to go airborne. For the first tenth of a second it looked like a pretty move. Then three Colts arrived and Sage turned into a human helicopter...one that lost the ball before he crunched to the ground. It was quickly picked up by a Colts linebacker and returned for a touchdown.
Ok, it was his first mistake of the game. Plus the Texans still had a three point lead. He could redeem himself by getting a few first downs and running out the clock. What we didn't know is this would turn out to be mission impossible.
About a minute later Sage once again took off running to his left looking for a receiver and not taking care of the ball. This time he was hit from behind and once again it was recovered by Indy. At least this time they didn't take it in for a ttouchdown. No, that would be handled by Mr. Manning who would see to it that his team regained the lead for the first time since the first quarter.
Still, Sage would have one more chance. Down by four the Texans would need a touchdown, but they had two timeouts left and over a minute to get down the field. He had made it look rather easy in the first three quarters. A couple of quick completions and things were looking pretty nice! Sage may be redeemed!
Oh, wait.... this is Sage Rosenfels of Iowa State. Good solid NFL backup quarterback, but not a guy who is going to lead a late rally after making two huge gaffes. No, he quickly found a Colt to throw the ball to and the game was over. Texan fans were riding a huge high of victory and then dowsed with the reality that they had been Rosenfelsed.
This is why Matt Schaub is liked more by Gary Kubiak. He at least seems like he is going to take better care of the ball. Of course this season he was off to a terrible start. But last week at Jacksonville he looked like the QB Texan fans have been waiting for. That is why falling ill just before this game was such a terrible blow to the Texans momentum. It kept him from proving the job was his and that he was the right guy. Then Sage made it look like the job should be his, until one of the worst end of game performances I can ever remember began.
Today in the NFL you need to have two quarterbacks that can play. The Texans have that. For them to have any chance at turning around this season though, they need Matt Schaub to be the QB he can be. Sage has proved over and over again he can't be a successful everyday starter in the NFL. If Matt can't either, then the Texans are in more trouble than any of us thought.