Houston Texans: Top 5 passers in franchise history
By Phil Watson
Sage Rosenfels didn’t come to the Houston Texans as anything but a backup, signing a four-year, $6.4 million deal in March 2006 after four seasons and just two starts with the Miami Dolphins.
After all, the Texans had David Carr firmly entrenched as the starter heading into 2006 and when he was released the following spring, Matt Schaub was already on board as the new No. 1 quarterback.
In his first season, Rosenfels made four relief appearances — most notably in a Week 8 loss at Tennessee when his three touchdown passes in the final 17 minutes weren’t quite enough to dig Houston out of 21-3 hole. Rosenfels was 18-for-25 for 186 yards in his relief effort, throwing one pick.
Rosenfels got more extensive playing time in 2007, relieving Schaub in midseason losses to Jacksonville, Tennessee and San Diego before getting his first start as a Texan in Week 9. Rosenfels was 11-for-19 for 181 yards with a pick and a touchdown pass in leading Houston to a 24-17 win at Oakland.
Schaub was back the following week from an injury, but when the starter sustained a dislocated left shoulder in a Week 13 loss at Tennessee, it was Rosenfels’ job for the rest of the season.
Houston was 3-1 with Rosenfels at the helm over the final four weeks, but an 8-8 finish left them out of the postseason.
In 2008, Rosenfels started in Week 5 in place of Schaub, who was ill, and had the Texans up 27-10 on the powerful Colts until the wheels came off in the fourth quarter.
Rosenfels fumbled twice in the closing minutes, including this gem:
Indianapolis scored three touchdowns in a 2:10 span, taking the lead with 1:54 remaining. Rosenfels’ last ditch effort at a comeback ended with an interception in an ugly loss that dropped Houston to 0-4.
Rosenfels made four more starts in midseason after Schaub went down with a sprained knee in a Week 9 loss at Minnesota, with the Texans losing the first two and winning the final two.
His final appearance as a Texan was a 30-17 win over the Jaguars in Week 13 that season. He was traded to the Vikings the following February.
In three seasons, Rosenfels threw for 3,380 yards — third on Houston’s all-time list, completing 65.6 percent of his passes with 24 touchdowns, 23 interceptions and one very memorable helicopter ride.
He was a fourth-round pick, 109th overall, by Washington in 2001 and was on the Redskins’ roster but did not play. He was traded to Miami during the 2002 preseason. After leaving the Texans, the Vikings dealt Rosenfels to the Giants in September 2010. He was released in October 2011 and returned to the Dolphins for a few weeks before being released on Dec. 1.
He was cut by Minnesota late in the 2012 preseason and announced his retirement in July 2013.