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Ben Tate is a "tough son of a gun"

For more than two weeks now, Ben Tate's dealt with four cracked ribs. The excruciating pain that goes along with such an injury saw him leave the loss at Kansas City, albeit briefly. That pain, however, didn't keep him from coming back into that contest. It also didn't keep him from practicing, or playing last Sunday against the Colts.

And it's gone a long way toward impressing Wade Phillips.

"I told him he's a tough son of a gun," Phillips said. "He was really sore Monday and he had about 80 yards in the game."

It was 81 yards for the fourth-year back, and it came on 22 carries. He also caught a pass. That's 23

touches for Tate, not to mention the countless other plays in which he blocked for Case Keenum in pass-protection.

Tate appreciated the praise from the interim head coach, but is still focused on helping the Texans get back in the win column.

"I'm just going through grinding trying to do the best to my ability," Tate said. "Just keep going to help this team, like I said, finally get a W out there after six straight losses."

Offensive coordinator Rick Dennison agreed with Phillips, saying "four (cracked) ribs is a lot to ask of a guy, but he toughed it out."

Tate said he still feels the pain, but luckily, he can also tell the healing process is coming along nicely.

"I think they're getting better," Tate said. "They're definitely getting better. From last Wednesday to this Wednesday, it's definitely a lot better." ******

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