One of the greatest running backs in NFL history, former Houston Oiler Earl Campbell, led the Houston Texans out of the tunnel Saturday as the team’s honorary captain. Campbell, the last great running back to play in Houston, got to witness the latest great Houston running back set two NFL records in the Texans 19-13 victory over the Cincinnati Bengals. Arian Foster continued his playoff prowess with 140 yards rushing and a touchdown to lead the Texans into the Divisional Round of the AFC playoffs.
The 140 rushing yards allowed Foster to run into the record books. He became the first player in league history to have 100+ rushing yards in his first three career playoff games. That is something greats such as Campbell, Emmitt Smith, Barry Sanders, Eric Dickerson and Walter Payton failed to accomplish in their first three post-season contests.
Foster’s three game playoff rushing yardage total of 425 is also the highest total for any player’s first three post-season games. The next highest three game total is 383 yards by Fred Taylor. He hit the Bengals for 153 yards last post-season, and then followed that up with 132 yards against the Baltimore Ravens. His 141.7 rushing ypg in the playoffs is second in league history behind only Terrell Davis’ 142.5.
Those weren’t the only marks Foster set against the Bengals. He added 8 receptions for 34 yards for good measure. That made him the first player in NFL history to have 30 or more carries and seven or more receptions in a playoff game. In these three playoff games, he has averaged 170 yards from scrimmage, the highest in NFL history.. Of course, these are only individual marks for Foster, but his individual success usually mean team success for the Texans. As Foster goes, so goes the Texans.
They improved to 8-0 this season when Foster rushes for 100 more yards. They are also undefeated when he gets 20 or more rushes and 30 or more touches in a game this season. It will be no secret what Houston must do to defeat the New England Patriots this Sunday in the Divisional Round. Get Foster involved in the offense early and often. In their 42-14 loss in New England last month, Foster was limited to only 14 carries. Of course the Texans fell behind big early, forcing them to abandon the run and play catch up.
It’s a simple formula for the Texans offense. When Foster has a big game, they control the ball and they win. He takes his game to another level in January, and Houston should ride that to the max in Foxboro. Should his playoff prowess continue Sunday, there is a good chance that they will do what almost no one expects them to do, beat the Patriots.