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Arian Foster hopes to continue playoff masterpieces


Arian Foster has turned off the television lately.

He's put his nose in some books.

As the playoffs approach, the Texans' three-time Pro Bowl running back has no preoccupation with outside commentary about the team. He has, however, been reading a "wide variety of subjects" and works of literature, including one called "The Shaman & Ayahuasca" about a plant in the Amazon rainforest.

If Foster's playoff experience were a book, it would consist of a brilliant first chapter that leaves the reader wanting more. And according to Foster's head coach, the next chapter is promising.

"It looks like the bigger the moment, the better he runs," Gary Kubiak said on Thursday. "That's a quality in a player that's special. We talk about guys stepping up and saying, 'You can count on me to make plays.' You can always count on Arian to make plays."

Last January, Foster rumbled for 285 yards in a pair of playoff games, the most by any player in his two playoff games in NFL history. Foster began with a 153-yard, two-touchdown game in the Texans' Wild Card victory at Reliant Stadium against the Bengals, highlighted by a 42-yard scoring scamper in the fourth quarter. It was a run that showed off Foster's power and grace as he pushed Bengals safety Chris Crocker out of the way and tiptoed down the right sideline on his way to the end zone.

A week later at Baltimore, Foster scored the Texans' lone touchdown in a 20-13 Divisional Round loss. He had 132 rushing yards to go with 22 receiving yards against the vaunted Ravens defense.

Not bad for a player who went undrafted out of the University of Tennessee in 2009.

"I've been preparing my entire life for these moments to play in the National Football League," Foster said on Thursday. "To me, every single moment on an NFL stage is big. There's an old saying in football, they say, 'Big-time players make big-time plays in big-time games.' And that's what I try to do."

In the 2012 regular season, the Texans were a perfect 7-0 when Foster ran for 100 yards or more. Having a back who has produced in the playoffs and can be elusive even if the blocking isn't always perfect is something the Texans' offensive linemen value.

"It's a comfort level for the offensive line, I'll tell you that," two-time Pro Bowl center Chris Myers said. "When you're able to not get your guy exactly where you want to get him, for him to be able to make a quick move and get some yards, it makes you look a little better than you are."

The Texans enter the playoffs with losses in three of their last four games, but Foster was quick to dismiss the idea that they are limping into the postseason. He's ready for the new challenge ahead with Cincinnati.

"I was never really a big believer in that momentum carries into each game, myself," Foster said. "That's just never been my opinion of football. I think each game has its own identity."

The identity of Foster's "playoff book" has the potential to be a bestseller. If he were to crack the 100-yard rushing mark on Saturday, he would become the first NFL player ever to do so in his first three playoff games.

But like the rest of the team, Foster will settle for a win on Saturday -- and a chance to keep writing his own playoff book.

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