Houston Texans Player of The Week: Arian Foster
After the Houston Texans week 1 30-10 victory over the Miami Dolphins, coach Gary Kubiak was not pleased with how the Texans ran the ball as a team. Houston averaged only 2.4 yards per carry on 35 attempts on the ground, a number that is certainly too low in Kubiak’s eyes. Led by Arian Foster, the Texans had no such problems in week 2. The Texans ran the ball a team record 48 times, rushed for 211 yards and averaged 4.5 yards per carry in Sunday’s 27-7 thrashing of the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Foster rushed for 110 yards on 28 carries and in the process became the Texans all-time leading rusher. He came into the game needing 20 yards to pass Domanick Williams‘ (known as Domanick Davis when he played for the Texans) franchise record of 3,195 rushing yards. Foster broke the mark with a 9 yard run in the 2nd quarter that gave him 3,199 yards (and counting) and put him at the top of the list.
In my preview column of the Jags game I predicted Foster would have 150 total yards in this game. He did his best job to make me look like a profit, adding 6 receptions for 37 yards to finish with 147 yards total. It was the 17th career 100 yard rushing game for Foster. Besides taking the large chunk of the Texans record 48 rushing attempts, he also combined with fellow RB Ben Tate to help Houston set yet another franchise record on this day.
The two headed monster rushing attack helped them set the franchise record for time of possession. Houston held the ball for an insane 43:17, besting the previous team record of 40:04 vs the Detroit Lions on 10/19/08. That left Jacksonville with only 16:43 to possess the ball, which kept the defense fresh as they dominated the Jaguars offense. The Texans also ran 83 offensive plays, another franchise record for plays run in a regulation game.
When the Texans running game is going this good, they are usually a shoo-in to win the game. With the win over Jacksonville, they improved to 34-5 under Kubiak when running the ball 30 or more times in a game. Foster added this game to the list of big games he’s had against the division rival Jaguars. Those include a career high 33 carry game in Jacksonville last season and a 180 yard rushing day vs the Jags in the 2010 regular season finale.
Much was made of Foster’s decision to go vegan this past offseason. Some people wondered if his diet decision would affect his performance on the field. His play thus far has answered that question with a resounding no. In the Texans first two games, he has rushed for 186 yards and 3 touchdowns, looking like the same two time Pro-Bowl running back as before.
He and Tate picked up where they left off last season, when they were the number one rushing tandem in the league. Foster finished 2011 fifth in the NFL with 1,224 yards and 1st in yards from scrimmage per game with 141.6. Tate almost hit 1,000 yards himself, finishing with 942 yards and averaging 5.4 yards per carry. As a team, Houston finished 2nd overall in rushing in 2011 to this week’s opponent, the Denver Broncos.
Last season, the Texans defense became known as the ‘Bulls On Parade’. An appropriate nickname for the Texans running game Sunday would be ‘Running of The Bulls’ as Foster and Tate ran wild as Jacksonville defenders played the role of matadors. With Tate’s 73 rushing yards on just 12 carries, Houston’s running game was in top gear. Foster is the ringleader of the ‘Running of The Bulls’ and Tate is a heck of a sidekick. They push each other on the field and the combo will look to continue punishing defenses across the league.