Is Matt Schaub clutch? Paul Kuharsky poses that question
When I think of clutch, I think of a quarterback who can be counted on to go out there and get that critical 3rd down and set up a score when the team needs it. Turnovers in the second half, particularly the fourth-quarter of a close game, are killers. At the very least, that is the unclutch of the NFL. Eli Manning comes to mind when I think of clutch. Statistically a decent regular season quarterback, but seemingly a man amongst men in the biggest games of his career at the most crucial times.
We haven’t seen Matt Schaub play a good
team since week 6 in Baltimore last year. If you recall the Texans did not score a point in the fourth-quarter. PK quoted some stupid games if you ask me. What I recall most of Schaub and pondering the question of whether he is clutch or not is the 4th quarter of the Saints game last year. After the Texans defense did wonders in the first half by holding the Saints offensive machine to 10 points, they subsequently crumbled in the second half, particularly the fourth-quarter.
Or rather, did Drew Brees come up “clutch” in the second half? On the five drives New Orleans had in the fourth-quarter, the Saints produced three touchdowns, one punt, and one kneel-down to end the game. Meanwhile the Texans had four full drives in the fourth-quarter with one three-and-out, one three play drive ending in an interception, one touchdown, and a four play drive resulting in a game ending turnover on downs.
This is the drive chart of both teams in the 4th quarter, minus the Texans TD scored on the first play of the fourth-quarter. The Texans are white and the Saints are black.
I know Schaub has no direct control over how good or bad the Texans defense was, but he did give the defense a nine point lead to start the fourth-quarter (it was 26-17 when the Saints got their first offensive drive in the 4th quarter).
However, this is when I question Matt Schaub being clutch. The Texans just received the ball leading 26-24 with nine minutes left. Kubiak (or somebody) called three straight passes, with the third pass being a deep 3rd and 10 pass for Andre Johnson that was intercepted by a defender underneath of Johnson. Maybe somebody with nfl.com’s coachs film could tell me, but it appeared that Schaub didn’t see him?
I hate playing what-if’s, but even Walters touchdown bounce in the fourth-quarter should have been an interception. If the Saints turn the ball over just once in the fourth-quarter of that game, the Texans chances of winning that game increases dramatically. Unfortunately for Texans fans the Super Bowl MVP never faltered once (in the 4th).
Teams have their good days and their bad days. Drew Brees could not get it done Sunday against the Redskins. Does that make him less clutch or not clutch anymore? In the five drives that the Saints had in the fourth-quarter, the Saints produced one three-and-out, two touchdowns, and two interceptions. With 3:40 left in the game and the Saints down by 8, Brees throws an interception returned to the Saints 3 yard line and put the nail in the coffin. Does that take away from the fact that Brees was clutch in week 3 versus the Houston Texans? Hell, Eli Manning couldn’t come back against the Cowboys last week. And there’s certainly no Drive by Elway without Byner’s fumble. *end of rambling*
No team wins every game. Even quarterbacks who are constantly associated with clutch are not clutch sometimes. Are the quarterbacks coming back from behind because they were bad in the first half? Perhaps some quarterbacks seem to be more clutch than others simply because they are getting more chances at game-winning drives. Some however just seem destined to fail. Eli Manning's antithesis Tony Romo makes me cringe in the fourth-quarter. It always seems like Romo...Cowboys...find a way to lose a close game. However, Romo has the highest fourth-quarter passing rating
among active quarterbacks. Statistics can be so clutch.
Is Schaub clutch to me? Should we even care? What if Schaubs not considered a clutch quarterback because he's so efficient at getting his team a halftime lead that there are rarely moments for him to shine in the fourth quarter. At the very moment in a fourth-quarter when Schaub is facing 3rd and long and the defense is blitzing, are you turning in your stomach or cheering with confidence? I still do not know if I believe in clutch. But then I see things in the NFL and I find myself saying, "Man, that was clutch!"
Remember when Schaub led the Texans back from a 21-point second half deficit against the Ravens two Decembers ago, only to throw a pick six in overtime. Was that clutch and then…not clutch?
Does clutch even exist?