Rams bothered by reaction to Schaub injury

October, 14, 2013
10/14/13
5:30
PM ET
EARTH CITY, Mo. -- In the heat of any game, most players and coaches do whatever they can to ignore outside interference and focus on the job at hand. That’s especially true when you’re a visiting team as the St. Louis Rams were in Houston on Sunday.

But sometimes things happen where the color of the jersey doesn’t matter.

C. Long
Schaub
Schaub
Such was the case in Houston when Texans quarterback Matt Schaub stayed on the field with an apparent leg injury after Rams defensive end Chris Long sacked him in the third quarter.

Instead of the usual silence and worry that goes with an injury to a player, particularly a quarterback, an uprising of cheers was audible. It was almost hard to believe it was happening or that Schaub’s injury was the reason for it but it was only reinforced moments later when the cheers grew louder for the entrance of backup T.J. Yates.

It would be unfair to say all of the more than 71,000 fans in attendance participated in the cheering, or even the majority, but there was little doubting the intent of the reaction.

The Texans were understandably upset such a thing could happen in their own stadium.

“No class,” Texans wide receiver Andre Johnson said. “It’s bad when members of the other team are saying that’s messed up. It wasn’t all of the fans, but those are the same people when you’re out somewhere with your family and you tell them they can’t have an autograph right now; they are the same people that tell you that you’re rude. It’s no class.”

Indeed, Johnson hits on a point that speaks to the idea of the brothers-in-arms mentality of players in the league. Take shots at each other? Sure. But when it comes to something so heinous as fans cheering an injured player, other players and coaches are quick to come to their defense, even if they’re on the other side.

“I know they’re going through some things down here,” quarterback Sam Bradford said. “But I truly believe that there’s not a place in football for that. When it comes to someone’s health, you never cheer when somebody gets injured.”

Of course, for those who believe in karma, these things have a way of working themselves out sooner or later.

Schaub had drawn a lot of criticism in Houston after throwing an interception returned for a touchdown an NFL record four weeks in a row and had received only a lukewarm vote of confidence from coach Gary Kubiak to remain the starter earlier in the week.

As the Rams began to pour it on in their 38-13 drubbing of the Texans, the crowd grew more upset with the home team’s performance and directed most of that attention to Schaub.

Ironically, of the many issues Houston had Sunday, Schaub was far from the most problematic. And when Yates came in, the football Gods wasted little time in showing Houston fans that perhaps he’s not the answer to all that ails the Texans either.

Yates threw two interceptions, including -- you guessed it -- a pick-six to Rams linebacker Alec Ogletree.

The Schaub situation even brought Long out of his self-imposed Twitter semi-hiatus to defend his fellow Virginia alum.

Rams coach Jeff Fisher, who got his start as a head coach with the old Oilers in Houston, also expressed dismay at the reaction of the fans in attendance, noting all the winning Schaub has done for the city and franchise.

“Well, it’s disappointing from the standpoint that Matt’s won a lot of games here,” Fisher said. “The position that he plays in the National Football League is difficult to play at times but he’s still an outstanding quarterback. Matt’s a competitor and he’s earned the right for people to respect him here in town.”

One would hope that’s a right no player should have to earn.

Nick Wagoner

ESPN St. Louis Rams reporter

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