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Run game faces new challenge with Raiders defense

The Texans have run the football well the last four games.

Monday night against Oakland, they'll face a different challenge defensively in the Raiders' front seven.

"There's definitely some size that we're going to have to handle as far as the inside running game and then obviously the two players on the edge," offensive coordinator George Godsey said. "Safeties are good hitters, so in the running game it's a challenge and then on the edge, or in the perimeter I'm sorry, they have some size there to really combat our size. We have a challenge."

Oakland's allowed 114.8 yards per game this season, which is the 21st-best mark in the NFL. They also have given up 4.7 yards per carry, which is next-to-last in the League.

Starting in Week 6 against the Colts, the Texans have averaged 146 rushing yards per game. They cranked out 180 yards on Sunday in the win at Jacksonville.

"I think it's good," head coach Bill O'Brien said of the ground attack. "I think there's always things we can improve but we ran for 180 last game. We ran pretty good against Detroit. But every week's different."

Like Godsey, O'Brien credited the Raiders with a "very, very stout defense" that features size inside and fast, athletic players on the edges.

Quarterback Brock Osweiler's role in getting the Texans into the right plays is critical to the run game's success.

"We make a lot of decisions at the line of scrimmage in the running game and in the passing game," O'Brien said. "He's done a nice job of doing that in the running game."

Osweiler, who gained a career high 23 yards on a trio of scrambles against the Jaguars, knows running the ball will make many other successes possible for the Texans.

"A lot of things in this league stem off the run game," Osweiler said. "You need to be able to run the football so that you can stay balanced and so you can kind of keep defenses guessing what's going to come next. You never want to become one-dimensional in this league."

Lamar Miller leads the team in rushing with 720 yards on the season. He's averaging 4.3 yards per carry. Alfred Blue's averaging a career-best 4.9 yards a pop, and Akeem Hunt contributed with 52 yards on eight carries in the win at Jacksonville.


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