Arian Foster literally skipped into the end zone for his third touchdown with 1:56 left in the game and made it look easy. Then, he spiked the ball as the Texans ended years of frustration with a huge 34-24 victory over the Indianapolis Colts.
Foster showed off the Texans new ground attack with 231 yards on 33 carries and touchdown of 1, 25 and 8 yards. Houston rushed for 257 yards against the Colts.
When is the last time any back ever rushed 231 yards against the Colts?
Barry Sanders had the previous all time record against the Colts with 216 yards on 24 carries and two touchdowns in 1997.
Has there ever been a better opening day rushing performance?
O.J. Simpson rushed 250 yards on 29 carries against New England September 16, 1973. Foster, who spent part of last season on the Texans' practice squad, is second on opening day.
Talk about redemption. The Texans enjoyed every minute of this one.
"We heard this whole offseason about how our run game wasn't efficient last year and how if we had a running game we could have done this and we could have done that," Foster said. "You try to shake them but that wears you down. You can let it get to you or get it in you. I felt like it got to us and we're trying to keep this going."
The Texans ranked 30th in rushing yards last season and coach Gary Kubiak vowed to add balance to the Texans' offense. New offensive coordinator Rick Dennison went to work and the results showed up big on Sunday.
"It feels great," center Chris Myers said. "It was our mentality coming in here to be dominant, to be physical and finish the game and be nasty. We did that. We have that capability week in and week out. To have a game like this against Indy is big."
How often has the Texans rushing out-gained its passing?
Quarterback Matt Schaub completed nine of 17 passes for 107 yards and one touchdown. And, he was delighted.
"We'll take it every time," Schaub said. "It was a great way to start our season off. We did a lot of things today we talked about doing dating back to the last game last year. It's one."
Schaub liked the overall contribution to the running game.
"That offense line did a heck of a job, the wide receivers and tight ends down field blocking," Schaub said. "We wanted to be a more physical team and we were able to do that. Arian did his part. Vonta (Leach) did his part leading him through."
The Colts defense was on the ropes by the fourth quarter. Houston drove 91 yards in four plays, all runs, with Foster taking it 25 yards for the touchdown. Houston's final touchdown covered 41 yards in seven plays, all runs with Foster taking an easy standup 8-yard run
for the score.
"You come out and have a 230 yard rusher, that says a lot about our team," left tackle Duane Brown said. "It was very special. It's history. Him being a young back and us being a young team period, it's nice to be a part of history. We want to keep this thing going."
Kubiak complimented Foster's progress from the practice squad.
"He's a kid that basically came from nowhere," Kubiak said. "He had some struggles and he sat around one place and figured out there is only one way to do it in this league to be successful and somehow the light went on about week 15 or 16 (last year); he's taken advantage of a great opportunity.
"Guys change; players change. He's really change the way he goes about being a player and a pro. I'm very proud of him today."
Colts quarterback Peyton Manning was impressed; still, he's not conceding the division to the Texans.
"Certainly, they were the better team today," Manning said. "They beat us and that's really kind of the fact. At this point, we won't think about Houston until we play them in November back in Indy. I think we've got to think about the Colts these next two and a half
days and how we can improve and then start our preparation on the Giants on Wednesday."
The offensive line opened huge holes for Foster.
"The last four games, we have been up on them and haven't been able to finish game," Myers said. "We were able to do that today in the fourth quarter. We'll take that every day of the week. If we have less than 100 yards passing and over 200 rushing we'll take it.
"We were jacked up every single play."
Foster had 40 yards on 10 carries in the first half, which didn't leave a hint of what was about to happen.
"You've got to have patience," Foster said. "It didn't feel like I was going to get it going early as well as I expected it to early. You keep pounding and pounding and they start getting a little tired and we start getting a little tired and it becomes a test of wills."
The Colts weren't putting up much of a fight near the end, as big holes opened for the runners.
"I wouldn't say we broke them but it showed at the end of the game that we stayed on the field," Foster said. "Anytime you have a long drive and don't throw a pass that tells you something about your team.
"It's like beating your chest."
EDITOR'S NOTE: Michael A. Lutz worked for The Associated Press for 38 years covering news and sports in Louisville, Ky. Dallas and Houston. Most of that time was spent in Houston covering the Oilers, Astros, Texans and other college and pro sports.