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Matt Schaub loses piece of ear in Houston Texans' win

Denver Broncos pass rusher Von Miller was called for a roughing-the-passer penalty in the third quarter of Sunday's game after hitting Matt Schaub. On the next play, Broncos linebacker Joe Mays hit the Houston Texans' star quarterback with a direct blow to the helmet. Schaub's helmet flew off, and he held his head in his hands. Another penalty.

"I felt fine. I lost a piece of my ear," Schaub said, via the Houston Chronicle.

Schaub missed one play, returned to the game and led the Texans to a 31-25 win in Denver. It was that kind of game for Schaub, who threw four touchdown passes, and a team that looks like the toughest squad in the AFC coming out of the game.

Texans QB Matt Schaub's left ear was worse for wear after a hit by Broncos linebacker Joe Mays on Sunday.
Texans QB Matt Schaub's left ear was worse for wear after a hit by Broncos linebacker Joe Mays on Sunday. (National Football League)

Texans coach Gary Kubiak told The Associated Press that Schaub didn't even want to come out for the one play.

"His ear was bleeding real bad on the field, to be honest with you," Kubiak said. "That was the biggest reason he even came off the field. But he's fine. Boy, he played like a champ today."

Some teams of Texans past would have lost this game. They had a 31-11 lead in the fourth quarter before a fumble and a quick-strike touchdown by Peyton Manning turned around the game. Manning did his best to quiet arm-strength concerns with a number of strong fourth-quarter throws, but he was lucky not to be picked off. Just like last week, the Broncos made it a one-score game. Just like last week, the defense couldn't get the ball back in time.

On a third-and-5 at the Houston 25, Schaub threaded the needle to Andre Johnson to pick up a crucial first down that helped kill the clock. It was a decisive read and an accurate throw. It might not show up in the highlight reels, but it was the type of throw that championship quarterbacks make. The Texans took the best that Manning had in the second half, and they survived. They are the only AFC team with a 3-0 record.

The Texans will have to get used to being favorites each week. So far, so good.

Follow Gregg Rosenthal on Twitter @greggrosenthal.

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