Ben Tate knifed up the Saints defense on Sunday afternoon, and afterward was confident in his performance.
"I was definitely out there to prove a point tonight," Tate said. "I felt like I got my point across."
Tate finished with a game-high 74 yards on 11 carries, and scored a touchdown in the Texans 31-23 loss to New Orleans. With Arian Foster missing the bulk of the preseason, Tate's been the lone veteran ball-carrier on the squad with experience in the system.
"I think Ben is ready," head coach Gary Kubiak said. "I think he's going to have a really good year. I've been impressed with his camp."
He shone especially bright on the team's second series, when he carried the ball five times in the nine play drive. A 39-yard run highlighted that possession, and his one-yard touchdown run was the exclamation point. All told, he gained 50 yards in that series.
"The big emphasis was on running the ball and getting back to that," Tate said. "I felt we definitely had to step up as a unit, and we did that tonight."
Left tackle Duane Brown agreed, and was very complimentary of his linemates and Tate.
"We came out smoking," Brown said. "Everyone was firing off the ball, very physical. Tate did a great job of running and that's very encouraging for us heading into the regular season."
Tate gained 21 yards the rest of the first half, and came out of the locker room following the intermission with his pads off and a baseball cap on. His night was over, and in his mind, a success.
"I feel good coming out of this third preseason game," Tate said. "I'm right where I want to be. I'm feeling good, excited and ready for the season to get going."
That excitement is shared by wide receiver Andre Johnson, who said he's come to expect this type of performance from the fourth-year back.
"Nothing has surprised me about what he is doing," Johnson said. "He has been working his butt off. I am a big fan of Ben."
He, like the rest of the starters, won't play Thursday evening at Dallas. The regular season begins two weeks from Monday night in San Diego against the Chargers.