Cowboys must beware Schaub's play action

September, 24, 2010
9/24/10
3:15
PM ET

Cowboys at Texans - Sunday, 1 ET

Let's examine some of the key Next Level storylines in Sunday's matchup between the Dallas Cowboys and the Houston Texans.

PLAY ACTION MAKES SCHAUB STRONGER:
The Texans lead the NFL in rushing, averaging 157.5 yards per game this season. But there's more to this team than a strong ground game. Against the Washington Redskins last week, Matt Schaub became just the fourth quarterback in the last 50 years to throw for at least 475 yards while maintaining a completion percentage of at least 70 percent. With the strong run game that the Texans possess, it should come as no surprise that Schaub has found great success off of play action over the last few seasons.

COWBOYS' FIRST-DOWN PASS DEFENSE FOLDED IN WEEK 2:
In Week 1, the Dallas Cowboys' defense had success in stopping the Washington Redskins from scoring on first downs. However, it was a different story in Week 2 vs. the Chicago Bears. Jay Cutler threw for three touchdowns, with all of them coming on first downs. In fact, the Bears completed 12 of their 14 pass attempts on first down.

TEXANS' PASS DEFENSE CAN BE EXPLOITED:
The Texans haven't been able to stop anyone's passing game this season, specifically on long passes over the middle. The Texans have given up 13 completions on balls thrown at least 10 yards downfield inside the numbers this season. Only one other team has had its opponents even attempt that many throws. Texans' opponents have completed 13 of their 18 pass attempts of at least 10 yards over the middle this season. Their passer rating on such throws is 153.9.

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