Texans riding high, but can Schaub hold up if faced with game-on-the-line pressure?


Winning with ease is impressive in the NFL and that's what it looks like for the Houston Texans these days. But are they getting enough work at dealing with the tough situations?

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Think back to the New York Giants' run to the Super Bowl, when Eli Manning & Co. beat Atlanta, Green Bay and San Francisco before beating the Patriots for the Super Bowl title. Those four teams were a combined 51-13 heading into the playoffs and had a number of easy wins.

Manning led the NFL in fourth-quarter passing -- completing 109 for 182, including a record 15 touchdown passes.

He was even more impressive when his team was trailing last season. Manning completed 226 of 355 passes for 3,063 yards and 21 touchdowns when his team was behind.

That is a lot of work in very tough situations that paid off when the playoffs came around.

Take a look at the fourth-quarter passing and passing when top teams are behind in games this season. Pay close attention to Matt Schaub's work in these two areas.

It's not only that Schaub lacks work in those areas -- but his offensive linemen aren't pass blocking, his receivers haven't been forced to make catches nor have running backs had to pick up a blitzer to win or lose a game.

Quality experience in these two areas will absolutely be necessary for the Texans to get to a Super Bowl.

When it comes to these critical situations it really can't be recreated in practice with all the pressure that comes with them. Keep in mind that Schaub has never played in a postseason game and was gone most of the season last year.

There are games coming up vs. the Packers and Ravens that could put the Texans' offense in fourth-quarter and coming-from-behind situations but the way the Texans are playing you just never know.

It's still early in the season but I'll be interested in how the Texans respond to adversity when it finally shows up.

Fourth Quarter Passing (Probable Postseason QBs)
Matt Schaub9/130-0-0
Aaron Rodgers28/453-2-2
Peyton Manning27/433-0-3
Tom Brady26/413-0-2
Eli Manning23/404-1-1
Joe Flacco20/351-0-3
Philip Rivers18/231-0-0

Passing When Team is Losing
Matt Schaub4/71-0-1
Peyton Manning60/955-2-6
Aaron Rodgers53/813-2-4
Eli Manning51/785-3-2
Tom Brady43/654-1-2
Joe Flacco32/483-1-0
Philip Rivers24/440-2-1
Matt Ryan18/272-1-3

Pat Kirwan has been around the league since 1972, serving in a variety of roles. He was a scout for the Cardinals and Buccaneers, a coach for the Jets as well as the team's Director of Player Administration where he negotiated contracts and managed the team's salary cap. He is the author of Take Your Eye Off the Ball: How to Watch Football by Knowing Where to Look, and the host of Sirius NFL Radio's Moving the Chains.

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