Schaub faces Broncos with totally different cast

HOUSTON -- Last season's game against the Denver Broncos wasn't like most for Texans quarterback Matt Schaub.

There was a 60-yard touchdown pass to Andre Johnson, a three-yard touchdown pass to Arian Foster and a 52-yard touchdown pass to Kevin Walter. At halftime the Texans led the Broncos 21-11, seemingly on the way to a blowout.

"He did a great job of play action early," Texans offensive coordinator Rick Dennison said. "We did well until we gave the ball back to them one too many times. Obviously the quarterback on the other side is a very good player. He made us pay for that, but we finished the game out strong."

That game happened in Week 3 in Denver. The Texans improved to 3-0 by beating Denver 31-25, holding off Manning's bid for the comeback win.

So much has changed for the Texans since then, but especially Schaub. Schaub will return to being the Texans' starting quarterback this weekend because Case Keenum injured the thumb on his throwing hand on Sunday. Texans interim head coach Wade Phillips believes Keenum suffered the injury the final time he was sacked Sunday. Ligament damage has meant that Keenum can't even grip a football properly right now.

Last time he faced the Broncos, Schaub threw four touchdown passes and one interception -- but he also had Arian Foster and Owen Daniels. Ben Tate played in 22 snaps that game as Foster's backup.

Walter is gone, cut in the offseason, Foster, Daniels and Tate are all on injured reserve. And Schaub returns for the Texans' final home game with the specter of his last appearance at home looming. He entered the Texans' loss to the Raiders late to boos from the home crowd that were so loud the Texans had to go to a silent count for some of their plays.

“Our team is 100 percent behind him and I know our real fans are going to be cheering for our team and also for him," Phillips said. "He’s had a rough year like all of us but he’s determined to come out and play well and we’re going to support him."