Avoiding turnovers continues to be the biggest challenge for Ravens quarterback Matt Schaub.
His Ravens debut ended in celebration Monday night, after an improbable 33-27 victory. But Schaub would have been the offensive goat, if not for Brent Urban’s blocked field goal and Will Hill’s winning 64-yard return for a touchdown.
Schaub threw two huge interceptions – a 64-yard pick-six in the third quarter, and an underthrown pass with 50 seconds to play that almost handed the Browns the game. The Ravens will have a tough time winning consistently unless Schaub eliminates game-changing mistakes. But as they prepare for Sunday’s road game against the Dolphins, at least the Ravens can evaluate Schaub’s performance after a victory.
“He is definitely capable of playing winning football,” Ravens coach John Harbaugh said following Monday’s game. “He didn’t see everything that he wanted to, but that’s probably because of not being on the field (for a long time). I’m glad we got the win.”
Monday was Schaub’s first start since 2013, and he had some good moments, completing 20 of 34 passes for 232 yards and two touchdowns. Schaub was poised in the pocket, and due to his experience, there was no discernable difference in the Ravens’ game plan or play-calling without Joe Flacco, who missed the first game of his career due to his season-ending knee injury.
Schaub also responded to adversity well. After his pick-six, Schaub immediately led the Ravens on a 12-play, 80-yard touchdown drive, completing five of six passes, capped by a 15-yard touchdown to Kamar Aiken.
“We had a couple of really big drives in the game,” Schaub said. “We’re definitely making it hard on ourselves, that’s for sure. It just shows the heart and character of the guys in the locker room.”
However, the turnovers cannot be ignored, because Schaub has been haunted by them in recent years. The pick-six was the 13th Schaub has thrown during his career, and his sixth since 2013.
“When something like that happens, it’s the worst of the worst,” Schaub said. “But to come back out and put a touchdown drive right behind that? It says a lot about our team and our offense. We didn’t blink.”
That’s the approach Schaub will take into Sunday’s game against the Dolphins. He wants to avoid the interceptions. But he is determined not to let them shake his confidence.