HOUSTON (AP) -Texans fans booed and chanted for the backup after Matt Schaub threw a second interception against the Dolphins. The second-year starter tuned it all out and led his team to its first win with a last-second touchdown run.
Coaches and teammates alike have been impressed with Schaub's poise and grace through his early-season struggles. and are eager to see how he responds after Sunday's success.
Fans starting calling for Schaub to be benched in favor of Sage Rosenfels after he had six turnovers and one touchdown in Houston's first two losses. Rosenfels started the fourth game with Schaub out with a virus. He looked great early, but had three turnovers in the fourth quarter to allow Indianapolis to overcome a 17-point deficit for the win.
That quieted the critics until Sunday's game, when Schaub's struggles started again.
He insists negativity from fans doesn't bother him and his teammates back up his story.
t,'' Andre Johnson said. ``He could have easily went out and played a terrible game. Even when everyone was chanting for Sage, Matt was clapping his hands, telling us we've got them right where we want them, even though we were down.''
Schaub said he can even see it from the perspective of the fans.
``The fans are so excited for us to win and be successful and want us to (win) so bad that I understand where they're coming from,'' he said. ``I grew up in Philadelphia. There's no tougher fans than up there and I grew up one of them. So, I understand where they're coming from and motivationally, it's something I just use to make me play better.''
Even so, it looked like a great relief for him after running for the winning touchdown against the Dolphins.
``Just to have a positive ending to a game where, that game kind of had everything that we've gone through in our season wrapped up in 60 minutes of football,'' he said. ``To finish it with a win, that definitely put a nice exclamation point on it.''
Tight end Owen Daniels said the team never doubted him and that it was nice to see him win the game Sunday.
Players often comment on how even-tempered Schaub is no matter what is happening on the field or off. He said even if things are bothering him, he tries not to let it show.
at you guys are trying to do as a group, and that just starts a downward spiral,'' he said. ``And you can't let your teammates see you like that.''
Schaub has thrown for 1,076 yards with five touchdowns and seven interceptions this season. He's thrown for more than 300 yards in each of the last two games and led Houston to a franchise-best 485 total yards in the win over Miami.
His recent improvement is certainly linked to the resurgence of Johnson, who had an uncharacteristic slow start, but has had three straight 100-yard games. The pair attributes the improvement to getting timing back after Johnson sat out most of the preseason with a pulled groin.
``It's definitely back,'' Schaub said. ``We've been really working hard at it and he's been working tremendously hard to get back in sync. So, I think we're back in full swing.''
It's not just Johnson's work on the field that has helped Schaub bounce back. The notoriously quiet Johnson sought him out to offer words of encouragement and support when things weren't going well.
``He doesn't say much, but when he says something, people listen to him because you know it's going to be important,'' Schaub said. ``So, it meant a lot. We just kept after things and just kept working.''
Johnson is very protective of his quarterback and was one of his most vocal supporters when things weren't going right.
' Johnson said. ``Just by what he did in that game, that just shows a lot about him. I don't really think he'll let nothing bother him.''
But what if the fans get even nastier?
``They'll have to go through me,'' Johnson warned.

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