August 15, 2009
Schaub Makes it Rain in Fake Opener
by Keith Weiland
Somebody forgot to tell Texans quarterback Matt Schaub that this one doesn't count. In the face of a raging rainstorm, Schaub was near perfection in leading a 94-yard first quarter touchdown drive en route to a 16-10 preseason victory.
Schaub, who exited the game after his scoring drive, completed all seven of his pass attempts to six different receivers for a total of 70 yards. He was comfortable in the pocket and accurate throughout his (albeit brief) performance.
While Schaub was efficient through the air, it was running back Chris Brown, subbing for a resting Steve Slaton, that punched through the goalline on the drive. Brown ran two yards for the score, his fourth consecutive rush after an earlier fumble.
The rest of the back-ups entered the game after the first quarter ended, and both teams kicked field goals as the Texans built a 13-3 lead at halftime. Preseason blahs endured into the second half, details of which are rather drab to re-tell, save for a one:
Third string quarterback Rex Grossman had a familiar, yet unwelcome debut for the Texans. Entering the game near the top of the fourth quarter, he unloaded deep (surprise!) and way short on his first play, then recovered his own fumble on the second. Head coach Gary Kubiak later re-inserted second stringer Dan Orlovsky, keeping Grossman off the field for the remainder of the game. Kubiak claimed post-game that Grossman suffered a hamstring injury. Um, okay.
Midway through the touchdown drive, the Texans offense found themselves in a 3rd down situation with 11 yards to go from their own 37-yard line. Offensive coordinator Baby Shan dialed up the ol' reliable running back screen, and of course it worked like a charm. Brown caught the pass from Schaub and sprinted across midfield but fumbled when he was hit by Chiefs cornerback Brandon Flowers.
The man on the spot for the recovery 16 yards downfield? Why, it was none other than left guard Kasey Studdard, subbing with the starters in place of the injured Chester Pitts. Tack on a 15-yard personal foul by Chiefs defensive tackle Alex Magee, and the Texans found themselves with possession of the ball for a first down on the opponent 32.
Well, the preseason czar himself, Gary Kubiak, gets one for yet another notch in his fake game bedpost. Nice one, boss.
I've got another game ball here for running back Ryan Moats. Brown was noteworthy with his 25 yards on the ground on six carries (not to mention he walked off the field healthy, amazingly), but it was Moats that showed off some quicks and added effort in his 10-carry, 52-yard performance. Rookie Arian Foster, sitting this one out thanks to a hamstring injury, has been most impressive in camp, but Brown and Moats are not making it easy on Foster to secure a spot on the final 53.
Then a couple rooks get to share a game ball. Tight end James Casey had the catch of the evening, a diving one-hander worth replaying on the DVR. Second round pick Connor Barwin owned Branden Albert, the Chiefs franchise left tackle, to mark his first sack as a pro. Well done, fellas. Welcome to the team.
7-7, 70 yards, 0 INT
Schaub's statline was the big story of this game. The Texans offense clicked with him under center. He was sacked once on the opening drive (Schaub would later explain that his hot read wasn't ready for the pass), but it was an otherwise impressive performance that should make fans feel very good about the team's future so long as Schaub stays healthy.
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