Pro Bowl Watch: Matt Schaub

In previous seasons, Matt Schaub's misfortunes have been related to cheap hits and injuries no one would have played through.

This season he encountered a different kind. First, the Texans' inability to get the last AFC playoff slot, when it was in range.

Second, to produce a career season that coincided with Peyton Manning's fourth MVP year and Chris Johnson's 2,000-yard season.

When you throw for a league-high 4,770 yards and don't get considered for offensive player of the year because of what players in your own division have done, that's a little tough.

It was the sixth-best passing yardage season in league history. Remember when Daunte Culpepper went crazy in 2004? He was a giant story. Schaub's year was better than that, and also topped Dan Marino's second-best year.

I believe Schaub has now established himself as a player who deserves mention at the back end of the top tier of NFL quarterbacks. He's not far off from Aaron Rodgers, who ranks as the top up-and-comer in many people's eyes.

With Manning in the Super Bowl, Philip Rivers, Tom Brady and Ben Roethlisberger bowing out because of injury, Schaub's in line to start for the AFC in Sunday's Pro Bowl.

It's not the biggest spotlight he's going to earn before he's finishes in Houston.

Here a review of Schaub's season from Matt Williamson of Scouts Inc.:

"Extremely successful. I was very torn as to who should have gotten the third quarterback spot in the Pro Bowl for the AFC between Roethlisberger, Brady and Schaub. He stayed healthy, which is gigantic for him. He was consistently productive, even after Owen Daniels went down, which should have crippled that passing game much more than it really did. After that injury, remember, they had no running game and really only one true receiving weapon in Andre Johnson. While QBs get too much credit and too much blame for such things, I also think it was very impressive that the Texans made a late-season run and did finally get over .500. Would grade his season as an A-minus."