Arian Foster ran for 140 yards and a touchdown on Saturday, carrying the Texans to a 19-13 Wild Card playoff victory against the Cincinnati Bengals.
For Foster, that's par for the course in the playoffs.
"He's a man," Texans coach Gary Kubiak said after the game. "I just talked to him in the locker room. The whole stadium knew we had to line up and run the ball and boy, was he at his best there at the end. He's become a fine, fine player, and it just seems like the bigger it gets, the better Arian gets."
Foster now has 425 rushing yards in three career playoff games, the most by any player in his first three playoff games in NFL history. The previous record was 383 set by Jacksonville's Fred Taylor in 1998-99. Foster is the first player to top 100 yards in each of his first three playoff games and the eighth player overall to run for 100 yards in three consecutive playoff games.
"Anytime you reach any milestone and touch any part of history in this league, it's a big deal," Foster said. "It means a lot, but it's not just me. It's this team, my offensive line, the receivers making key blocks, the tight ends, the quarterback making plays and read checks."
Foster's teammates were quick to direct the praise right back at him.
"He was outstanding," quarterback Matt Schaub said. "He did what he always does, and that's just churn out the tough yards. He makes those two- or three-yarders into five or six and (is) always falling forward and putting us in a good situation on second or third down."
Said fullback James Casey: "Everybody feeds off him, and he's proved it throughout his career so far. Every time he gets in a big game, he shows up. He leads us. He puts us on his back, especially with games like that. He's our go-to guy."
Foster's game was a balancing act – 35 yards in the first quarter, 51 in the second quarter, 27 in the third and 27 more in the fourth. He scored the game's only offensive touchdown in the fourth quarter, a one-yard plunge on second-and-goal that was his 18th score of the season. He iced the game with a 10-yard run on second-and-eight after the two-minute warning, allowing the Texans to kneel on the final two plays and run out the clock.
"Arian was great," Texans chairman and CEO Bob McNair said. "The last run he made for that first down, I told him I was about to go out there and kiss him. That was tremendous."
Led by Foster's 140 yards, the Texans ran for 158 against a Bengals rushing defense that had allowed 97.4 per game in the second half of the season. Foster set a team postseason record with 32 rushing attempts, bettering his own previous high of 27 in the 2012 AFC Divisional Playoff at Baltimore.
"That's what you grow up wanting," Foster said. "You want the ball in your hands when the game is on the line, and tonight, the game was on the line. This organization, this coaching staff, this team, trusted me to put it in my hands. Anytime you have that on your shoulders, I mean, that's what I work for. That's what every guy works for, so when it's a playoff game and it really matters, you can come through for your guys."