By Jay Betsill
Sunday – October 6 – 7:30 PM
Candlestick Park – San Francisco
Last week’s Houston Texans-Seattle Seahawks matchup at Reliant Stadium was billed as a potential Super Bowl preview and the ensuing battle lived up to the hype. Unfortunately for Texans fans, the 20-3 halftime lead would not be enough to hold off the Seahawks, who charged back behind quarterback Russell Wilson and running back Marshawn Lynch. Seattle was also the beneficiary of Texans quarterback Matt Schaub’s third consecutive game with a pick-six as the NFL’s top defense held Houston scoreless in the second half.
“It’s a high-risk, high-reward play,” said Richard Sherman, who jumped the route, stepped in front of tight end Owen Daniels for the interception and returned it 58 yards for a touchdown to force overtime. “You have to jump in, and you might get beat over the top for a 20- or 30-yard gain if he gets the ball down there. But if you make the play, you might get a pick-6 and change the game for your team.”
Houston (2-2) failed to score on two possessions in overtime and also lost linebacker Brian Cushing to a concussion. The Seahawks got the win on their second drive in overtime after rallying from the 20-3 deficit for the franchise’s first ever 4-0 start.
“I don’t think anything about that,” Schaub said, when told of a Texans fan burning his jersey after the loss. “That’s someone’s choice. My goal is just to make sure that when we get done with this thing again this year, he’s going back out and he’s going to get one to wear.” Schaub completed 31 of 49 passes for two touchdowns and 355 yards to go along with the two interceptions against the Seahawks.
Next up for Houston is a road trip to the Bay Area to take on the defending NFC champion San Francisco 49ers. After opening the season with a victory over the Green Bay Packers, the 49ers were outscored 56-10 in consecutive losses to the Seahawks and Colts. Colin Kaepernick and company got back on track last week in a 35-11 win over the lowly St. Louis Rams. Kaepernick, who has struggled this year with three fumbles and four interceptions, is missing two of his top three receivers as Michael Crabtree and Mario Manningham were placed on the PUP list prior to the start of the season. However, he still has Anquan Boldin, Vernon Davis and Frank Gore at his disposal so Wade Phillips defense will have its hands full this week.
In Houston, running back Arian Foster called a players-only meeting to support Schaub, according to Tania Ganguli of ESPN.com. Whether the meeting rallies the team remains to be seen, but this game will likely come down to which team wins the turnover battle. Look for a close game and the Texans to come out of San Francisco with a victory that should quiet some of the Schaub criticism.