It's a small sample size, but Texans running back Arian Foster has been historically good in his brief postseason career.
In three playoff games, two last season and one on Saturday, Foster has 425 rushing yards. That's the most by any player in NFL history in the first three playoff games of his career.
Foster's average of 141.7 rushing yards per playoff game is the second-highest in NFL history, half-a-yard behind former Denver Broncos running back Terrell Davis, who averaged 142.5 rushing yards in eight playoff games. Texans head coach Gary Kubiak was Davis' offensive coordinator.
Foster has gained 170.0 yards from scrimmage per postseason game, the highest average in NFL playoff history. It's 11.1 scrimmage yards per game better than Davis (158.9), who ranks second in playoff history. It's 44.7 yards per game better than former Pittsburgh Steelers running back Merril Hoge, who ranks third with 125.3 yards in three playoff games. Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald ranks fourth with an average of 117.5 yards in six playoff games, followed by Hall of Fame running back Marcus Allen with 117.3 yards in 16 playoff games.
With 140 rushing yards in the Texans' Wild Card victory against the Cincinnati Bengals on Saturday, Foster became the first player in NFL history to top 100 rushing yards in each of his first three playoff games. Just three players in NFL history have strung together more consecutive postseason games with 100 rushing yards: Davis (7), Washington Redskins Hall of Famer John Riggins (6) and Buffalo Bills Hall of Famer Thurman Thomas (4).
Four other players in NFL history had 100 rushing yards in three consecutive playoff games. All four -- Emmitt Smith (Dallas Cowboys), Franco Harris (Steelers), Allen (Los Angeles. Raiders) and Larry Csonka (Miami Dolphins) -- are in the Hall of Fame.
The New England Patriots know that stopping Foster will be a key to their defensive success on Sunday in the Divisional Round in Foxboro. Foster had just 46 rushing yards on 15 carries (3.1 average) in the Texans' 42-14 loss to New England in Week 14. His average on the season was 89.0 yards a game. His career rushing average as a starter is 96.5 rushing yards, and his playoff average is almost 50 yards better.
"Last week, you saw why this guy is one of the top offensive players in the game – not just a back, but a top offensive player in the game – the things that he can do with the ball in his hands in the pass game and running it," Patriots defensive tackle Vince Wilfork said on Tuesday. "He's a great blocker when they ask him to block. He's a special player, and we understand that. We know it starts with their running game."
The Texans are 8-0 this season when Foster tops 100 rushing yards. If he can maintain his typical playoff production on Sunday, the rematch of the Texans' December loss at New England could be a much different game.