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Thursday, March 6, 2014
10 interceptions: The San Francisco hat trick

By Tania Ganguli

We are nearing the end of this sordid series (with the exception of the two Monday posts it included).

As you know by now, it began as a chance to examine 10 plays that defined the Houston Texans' season, then grew into a look at simply 10 interceptions. My research was returning mostly interceptions as key plays as it was.

The Texans' 2-14 season in 2013 had a lot to do with those interceptions, both on a pure football level and on a more emotional level for the organization.

The final two interceptions in this series had dramatic impacts on the Texans mentally.

2. The San Francisco hat trick

Texans quarterback Matt Schaub entered this game approaching a dubious record. Everybody knew going in that one interception returned for a touchdown would make Schaub the first player since the merger to throw pick sixes in four consecutive games.

It happened quickly.

Schaub made history with his very first pass against the San Francisco 49ers. Cornerback Tramaine Brock intercepted Schaub and ran 18 yards into the end zone.

There are arguments to the contrary, and I'll present one tomorrow, but you could say this pick was Schaub's turning point. This game was his worst from start to finish. It was the only game in which he never looked comfortable. Texans coach Gary Kubiak benched Schaub after he threw his third interception, two of them to Brock.

The Texans lost that Sunday night to a title contender, 34-3.

That evening the Texans dropped to a losing record for the first time in 2013.