MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. - All season, the Texans have been searching for an answer to their run game woes.
On Sunday, rookie running back Arian Foster showed that he can be a solution.
The undrafted free agent from Tennessee had a game-high 19 carries for 97 yards (5.1 avg.) with a 17-yard touchdown run in the Texans' 27-20 win at Miami.
Most importantly, he gained the tough yards late in the game, when everyone in Land Shark Stadium knew the Texans would run. He rushed for 36 yards on nine carries in the fourth quarter to help the Texans control the clock for 8:57. His six-yard gain on third-and-three from the Miami 34 allowed the Texans to run out the the game clock and secure their eighth win.
"It's big," Foster said of the victory. "This organization is trying to move forward. I'm just happy to be a part of this organization. It's a great organization with great people here and I'm just trying to help this team win."
Coach Gary Kubiak did not think that the run game would be as effective as it was. He was pleased with the execution.
"We thought it would be very difficult to run the ball on them," Kubiak said. "Their 3-4 scheme with two very tough edges (is difficult). We knew we'd have to throw the ball, but you have to keep them honest, and we did by running the ball."
Foster's running style is unique. At 6-1, 215 pounds, he runs with a low center of gravity that helps him to fall forward after contact. His vision and quickness lead him to running lanes in heavy traffic.
Foster was chastised by coach Gary Kubiak last week for a poor practice on the Thursday before the Week 15 game at St. Louis. In that game, Foster fumbled after a catch and was yanked.
His practice habits improved this week.
"I know I can play this game," Foster said. "I feel the coaching staff knows I can play this game. When I get on the field, I produce."
After spending 10 weeks on the practice squad, Foster was activated Nov. 17 and received his first carry against the Seahawks. He rushed 13 times for 34 yards (2.6 avg.) in the win, and followed that performance with two carries for seven yards at the Rams.
It says a lot that Foster played his best this week against the best competition.
"Our backs were against the wall," Kubiak said, "and we had some people respond.
"(Arian) really took the ball downhill at the end of the game. Good players respond. He had a rough week last week and he responded. He earned the respect of his teammates throughout the week and did it today. That's what the game's about."
Don't worry about Foster getting complacent. He's already focused on the next opponent in the biggest regular season finale in franchise history.
"We have a huge game next week (against New England)," Foster said. "So we have to make sure we go out and do things right this week."