First, the bad news:
400 yards passing, 3 TDs/0 INTs, a QB rating north of 110, and a comeback road victory to define himself and his team as he staked a claim to the path leading to an AFC Wild Card berth. That's what Matt Schaub forsaked with a Pick-6 to instead go down 28 - 21 while driving to go up 28 - 21, and an uncharacteristicly technique-deficient pass to a WIDE-open Joel Dreessen in the back of the endzone. It would have tied the game with time winding down in regulation to force overtime against an opponent whose offense had all but collapsed.
After an exciting Andre Davis kick-off return for 62 yards following Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie's interception return for a touchdown, Schaub drove his team down to the 6-yard line. With under a minute to go, a nifty delayed flick of a shuttle pass to Steve Slaton advanced them to the 1-yard line and the Texans were in business. 3 chances at 3 feet!
2nd Down: Chris Brown straight up the gut behind the battering ram that is Vonta Leach for no gain. Two more times, right? Spread the field...make them respect the receivers and Schaub's accuracy, create some gaps and give our burgeoning backfield 2 more shots at the opportunity, right? 3rd down: Instead, a sophisticated play-action playcall left a safe and space-protected Matt Schaub, with eyes no doubt as big as the heartbreak of this loss, free to deliver an easy toss-and-catch to Dreessen waiting patiently and all alone. He hurried the throw without setting his feet, and a valiant effort to bring down the sailing ball in bounds failed. 4th Down: Chris Brown straight up the middle for a last, desperate attempt. Stoned.
Now the good news:
Playing in front of a hostile crowd and initially succumbing to the high-powered weaponry of Kurt Warner, Larry Fitzgerald, and Anquan Boldin, the Texans dug themselves from a 21 - 0 hole with successful defensive adjustments, inspired special teams play and sporadically effective quarterbacking, even if ultimately tragic.
People will second guess playcalling, I call attention to poor execution. Kevin Walters should not have been thrown to so late in his pattern allowing the interception for a score, and Joel Dreessen was open to tie the game. The loss came down to one person. He knows who he is, the team knows who he is, and the city knows who he is. Matt will overcome and learn from the harsh lessons of this tough defeat, and deliver like the pro he can be next Sunday in Cincinnati.
That's good news, because he's got a heck of a team waiting for him.