Matt Schaub covers his eyes almost before he hits the ground. The Houston Texans quarterback is lying there on his back with his head in his hands, literally, as Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman returns his mistake 58 yards for a game-changing touchdown.
Schaub threw away a game the Texans dominated. And he knows it.
It's hard to see how Schaub recovers from this 23-20 overtime giveaway loss to the Seahawks. Something feels different about this one. Sure, Schaub's lost games before — games that could be traced back to a bad decision. Every quarterback in the NFL has. Even guys named Peyton Manning and Aaron Rodgers. But again, this one just feels different. It feels more like the Texans' version of the Mark Sanchez butt fumble, a final inexplicable turning of the tide.
"He's a grown man. Like you're going to make him feel better. He's a grown man."
The Texans are doing their best to deny that and keep the wolves at bay though. Gary Kubiak says he will not even consider a change at quarterback. Never mind that it's now three Pick-6s — and another near Pick-6 on the opening offensive play of the season — in four games for Schaub. Never mind that the quarterback himself says he cannot ever remember a personal stretch of such blunder and misery.
"I definitely believe in him," defensive end Antonio Smith says, talking while still in uniform in the middle of the locker room. "You see what he did today? You see what he did today? I believe in him 100 percent . . . We all deserve a chance to fix (our mistakes). He deserves the chance to go out there and fix his mistakes."
Schaub wasn't the only one who made a mistake after the Texans scored 20 points in the second quarter and then managed zero in 30 minutes of second half game time and nearly 12 minutes of overtime. Arian Foster dropped a third-down pass in the third quarter. No. 2 tailback Ben Tate fumbled away another possession. But Schaub was the one everyone was talking about. He's the topic of discussion in the locker room.
The quarterback made the biggest mistake — again. On third-and-6 from the Seattle 40-yard line with under three minutes to play, Schaub went right on a designed rollout and threw back left off balance and under pressure, desperately trying to get the ball to tight end Owen Daniels. Instead, he found Sherman. And instant misery. Before he even hit the ground.
"There is not one player that we feel sorry for more than another," left guard Wade Smith says.
"He's a grown man," tailback Arian Foster says of Schaub. "Like you're going to make him feel better. He's a grown man."
Schaub might not need — or even want — sympathy. But the Texans quarterback could use something. "He's going through a tough time right now," says a bloody mad Texans defensive end J.J. Watt.
"He's the one driving us down the field," center Chris Myers says. "I'd take him behind center any day."