The issues that have plagued Matt Schaub over the last few years of his career cropped up at an incredibly inopportune time Sunday against the Miami Dolphins.
With the Dolphins and Ravens scoreless late in the second quarter, the veteran quarterback threw a pair of interceptions, 20 seconds apart, including a pick-six. The turnovers resulted in Miami taking a 15-0 lead, and Ravens spent the rest of the game unsuccessfully trying to overcome the miscues.
"That was the difference in the game," Schaub said after the 15-13 loss to the Dolphins.
In Schaub's two starts since the season-ending knee injury to quarterback Joe Flacco, he has thrown four interceptions – two of which were returned for touchdowns. The pick-sixes continue a trend for Schaub that dates back to his final year in Houston, and he has now thrown seven of them since 2013, 14 overall in his career and a pair in his two starts in Baltimore.
"It's an unfortunate circumstance," Schaub said.
The interceptions were particularly frustrating because they led to 15 points on a day where the Dolphins couldn't do much of anything on offense. Miami didn't score the rest of the game and the Ravens allowed just 219 total yards of offense.
The interceptions against Miami were similar, as both were deflected at the line of scrimmage.
Safety Reshad Jones picked off the first pass that popped straight up over the middle of the field. Defensive end Derrick Shelby picked off the next one, which he tipped at the line of scrimmage and then returned 22 yards for a touchdown.
The pick-six came when Schaub tried to get the ball to running back Buck Allen in the flat, but the defender read the play and got a hand on the football.
"That one right there, I'm trying to throw it in the flat against their three-deep coverage and I've got Buck open," Schaub said. "The guy throws his hand up and bats it right up in the air in the same direction he's running towards the end zone and just catches it. It's part of this game and you see them happen."
Schaub made an effort to bring down Shelby after the interception, but the defender outran him to the football and into the end zone.
"That's a phenomenal football play and [the defender] deserves all the credit for making a play like that," Head Coach John Harbaugh said of Shelby.
The interceptions for Schaub came after he took a hit on the sidelines while throwing the ball out of bounds. His head hit the turf and the official helped him to his feet, but he was able to stay in the game.
Harbaugh explained that Head Athletic Trainer Mark Smith talked with Schaub after the hit to make sure he could still play. The Ravens also did further tests on Schaub to ensure he didn't have a concussion.
Reporters thought Schaub grabbed his head in pain, but he explained he was simply readjusting his helmet after the tackle.
"Our trainer went out right away. Mark went right out and talked to him. And then brought him back in, and he said he was good, and he was fine, and he was clear," Harbaugh said. "And then we put him through the concussion protocol anyway. He was just screaming that he was fine. But our doctors grabbed him and put him through the protocol, and he passed."
Schaub took some shots in the backfield throughout the game. He also had an offensive lineman fall into his legs, bending his knee and ankle in an awkward direction. He also appeared to hurt his shoulder late in the fourth quarter. He was examined by the doctors on multiple occasions, but still finished the game.
"I just came down hard and we just needed to put everything back in place," Schaub said about the late shoulder issue. "It was a physical game out there."
The turnovers were glaring mistakes on an otherwise efficient day for Schaub. He finished the game completing 32-of-46 passes for 308 yards with a touchdown and the two interceptions.
The question now for Schaub and the Ravens is whether all the shots he took will put his status in doubt for future weeks. The only other quarterback currently on the roster is Jimmy Clausen, who the Ravens signed two weeks ago.
Schaub gave no indication that the hits will put him on the shelf, and his focus is on cleaning up the costly mistakes.
"We have to get ready to go play Seattle at home next week," Schaub said. "We just have to find a way to execute on all cylinders."