In 1997, the Houston Oilers packed up and moved their NFL franchise to Tennessee. This left a gaping hole in Texas and, especially, Houston football. Enter Bob McNair and his Texans.
In 2002, the Houston Texans made their NFL debut and ended what was a five-year wait for pro football to return to the city. The Texans struggled out of the gate, finishing six of their first nine seasons under .500 and missing the playoffs completely. In the past decade, however, the Houston franchise has enjoyed a much more successful run.
Making their first playoff appearance in 2011, the NFL’s youngest franchise has made the postseason six times in the past nine years, winning the AFC South title each time. They have won four out of six Wild Card playoff games but have never managed to get past the Divisional round. Most recently, the Texans fell to the Kansas City Chiefs, who would go on to win in Super Bowl LIV.
Having played fewer than 20 seasons over the course of their existence in the league, Houston has rapidly transformed from a team that was just glad to be back in the NFL to one that has consistently fielded a squad ready to compete for their division crown and in the postseason.
There has been a lot of winning and optimism in Houston, mostly because of their man currently under the center. So before entering their 19th season, here’s a look at the three best quarterbacks in Houston Texans history.
Sage Rosenfels, Brian Hoyer
3. David Carr, 2002-2006
The OG Texans quarterback, David Carr ushered in Houston’s return to the NFL the best way possible. The former Golden Arm winner was drafted No. 1 by the Texans and was handed the keys to the kingdom from his very first game.
Carr would lead the team to a victory over Texas’ big brother, the Dallas Cowboys, marking the franchise’s first win. Sadly, this was probably the highlight of the season as they would end the year with a 4-12 record. This would be the theme for the rest of his time in Houston.
Carr would end his career as a Texan with 22 wins and 53 losses. He would compile totals of 1,243 completions for 13,391 yards and 59 touchdowns with the Houston franchise.
2. Deshaun Watson, 2017-present
Needless to say, Deshaun Watson clearly belongs on this list and quite possibly will eventually end up going down as the greatest quarterback in franchise history. In only two full seasons with the Texans — his rookie year being cut short by an ACL tear during a non-contact drill in practice —Watson has already proven to be the most dynamic weapon Houston has had under center.
A Golden Arm winner like Carr, the Clemson product not only provides the Texans with a good aerial attack but his athleticism and physicality also gives Houston’s ground game another dimension. Watson’s dual-threat offensive skills were best displayed in Houston’s comeback win in overtime against the Buffalo Bills in last postseason’s Wild Card round.
Watson help the Texans climb back from a 16-0 hole against the Bills by orchestrating both of the teams’s touchdowns, completing a pass to Carlos Hyde for one and running in the other. Houston would end up winning, 22-19, in overtime and Watson would end the game with 302 all-purpose yards and completing 20 out of 25 of his pass attempts.
The numbers and talent are undeniable. As of writing, Watson has amassed totals of 804 pass completions for 9,716 yards and 71 touchdowns. He has also scored 14 rushing touchdowns so far. But most importantly, outside of the stats, Watson has actually won and done so consistently. In 37 starts, Watson has a 24-13 record with the Texans and has led them to two straight trips to the postseason, having his most outstanding showing so far in last season’s playoffs.
Hopefully, the injury in his rookie year was nothing but a small bump in the road to what is turning out to be one Texas-sized career.
1. Matt Schaub, 2007-2013
If it weren’t for the small sample size, Watson would definitely top the list but for now, we have Matt Schaub.
Brought in to replace Carr in 2007, Schaub didn’t win games as consistently as Watson. During his time with the Texas franchise, Schaub’s record as a starter was 46 wins and 42 losses. However, he did have a two-year run leading the Texans to back-to-back playoff appearances, bringing the new Houston team its first playoff berth in 2011.
Stats-wise, Schaub clearly takes the cake. During his Texans career he totaled 1,951 of 3,020 completed passes, 23,221 passing yards and 124 touchdowns
A two-time Pro Bowler with Houston, Schaub is on top for now, but it won’t be long until the teams current starter takes his spot.