We’re due for another casual day here at By the Numbers so pull on those faded jeans, button up your favorite Hawaiian shirt and let’s dig into the bullets:
- Matt Schaub is known as a very good quarterback. He boasts a 91.6 QB Rating and has never posted a single season with a QB rating under 90. On the surface it appears as if Schaub continued to roll last Sunday against the Raiders. He threw for over 400-yards (416) and 2 touchdowns. However, what is hidden in those statistics is that Schaub threw a league-high 26 incompletions last Sunday along with 2 interceptions.
- In part, Schaub’s high incompletion rate can be blamed on the absence of injured WR Andre Johnson. With Andre Johnson out, Jacoby Jones was left to fill the void. Schaub threw passes to Jones 11 times and Jones caught one for a 9-yard gain. Eight passes fell incomplete, one resulted in a defensive pass interference penalty and one was a game-ending interception. So Jacoby Jones isn’t Andre Jonhson. He isn’t close. He is a much better facsimile for Bizzaro-Andre than standard Andre.
- In an attempt to address Jones’ awfulness the Texans traded for Derrick Mason this week. While Mason may turn into an effective target this season, expecting him to play a large number of snaps after only participating in 2 practices is a bit foolish. Instead expect Schaub to heavily target his tight ends (Owen Daniels, Joel Dreessen and James Casey) along with running back Arian Foster. Last week Dreessen and Foster led the Texans in receptions (5 apiece) accumulating 228 yards.
- Outside of Johnson’s injury, the other elephant in the room is the season ending injury of Texans DE/LB Mario Williams. In 2010, despite missing the final three games, Williams still had 9.5 sacks. This year he was averaging a sack a week before his injury. The next best defensive lineman on the Texans is Antonio Smith. While Smith is no where near the athlete Williams is, he is on pace to set a new personal best sack total. Smith already has notched 4.5 sacks this year despite never accruing more than 5.5 in a single season.
- Overall, the Ravens could not ask to play Houston at a better time. The defense topped Football Outsiders ranks this week reflecting their capability to stop Arian Foster and the Texans’ running game. Furthermore, the Texans’ best player on each side of the ball will not be playing. A win on Sunday will put the Ravens in control of the AFC North, with a soft schedule ahead (three of the Ravens next four games are against the league worst opponents: Seattle, Arizona and Jacksonville). Poor play and injuries can doom a team in the NFL any week but going into this week it seems safe to say, “Houston, we don’t have a problem.”