Every week in the Engel Eye, I'll take a look at some key performances from Sunday. We'll determine which players are ones to keep watching, and I'll pinpoint emerging trends.
Salute to Schaub: The Texans lost in Matt Schaub's return to Atlanta, but the Texans quarterback certainly did not play badly. Still missing his best pass-catching option, Andre Johnson, and without starting running back Ahman Green, Schaub moved the offense efficiently for most of the day. He threw for 317 yards and a touchdown pass, without an interception, and ran for an apparent score that was challenged and nullified. Schaub made good use of the limited weaponry he had at his disposal; Andre' Davis caught five passes for 117 yards, and Kevin Walter and fullback Jameel Cook each caught six passes. Tight end Owen Daniels caught five passes for 69 yards. Many quarterbacks would crumble with such a lackluster cast, but Schaub is the type of quarterback who can produce well even if he is not surrounded by top talents. You can't blame much of Sunday's loss on Schaub, and when Johnson returns, you can look forward to much better outings in terms of touchdowns. Buy low on Schaub, if you still can. He's only going to become more steady and productive over the rest of the season.
Not bad, not great: There could be a quarterback controversy brewing in Buffalo, and the team might finally be finding a modicum of respectability and balance on offense. Rookie Marshawn Lynch continued to fight hard and admirably for yardage, rushing for 79 yards and a touchdown on 24 carries. Lynch ran well enough to take pressure off unproven quarterback Trent Edwards, who was remarkably effective in completing 22 of 28 attempts for 234 yards, one score and one interception. Edwards made quick, crisp reads, stayed calm in the pocket and took what the Jets defense gave him for most of the day. He helped pump some life back into Lee Evans (six catches, 72 yards) and kept New York's defense honest by finding other open targets on key passing downs. Assuming Edwards keeps the job until J.P. Losman's return, the Bills' offense won't be great, but it won't be terrible, either. And Lynch and Evans will remain respectable starting options.