The troubling news is the Texans could be without starting running back Arian Foster for an extended period again.
But on a positive note it doesn’t appear they need him right now as second-year running back Ben Tate appears capable of carrying the load. And that was certainly apparent during Sunday’s 23-13 win at Miami in which Tate stepped in for Foster and ran for 103 yards – his second consecutive 100-plus yards game in as many career games.
Foster, who missed last week’s season opener due to lingering hamstring injury, appeared to tweak it again in the first half Sunday and remained on the sideline for the second half as the hard-charging Tate picked up tough yards to help keep the Dolphins winless (0-6) against the Texans.
But Tate didn’t have to do it alone with quarterback Matt Schaub and receiver Andre Johnson making enough plays to force the Dolphins defense to remain loose. Johnson, who was back in his hometown, had a spectacular day with seven catches for 93 yards and a touchdown.
Schaub also had a strong out with 230 yards and two touchdowns on 21 of 29 passing with no interceptions in keying the Texans to a 2-0 start.
The Texans defense didn’t play as consistent as it did a week ago against the Indianapolis Colts but made the necessary stops to get the Dolphins off the field. The Dolphins were just 1 for 4 in red zone scoring opportunities.
Much of that had to do with the opportunistic play of the Texans defense which forced a couple missed field goals and then came up with two key turnovers. Cornerback Jonathan Joseph, who was in and out of the lineup with an ankle injury, picked of Chad Henne once and then Dolphins running back Daniel Thomas also turned the ball over on a hit by cornerback Kareem Jackson.
But there are some things the Texans will want to get cleared up as they prepare to head to New Orleans next week. The primary concern may be their run defense where Thomas gained 107 yards on 18 carries. Dolphins receiver Brandon Marshall also took advantage of the smaller Texans secondary which could be a program again against the Saints.
Linebacker Brian Cushing led the defense in tackles for the second straight week with 10 stops, while safety Danieal Manning had seven tackles and four other Texans defenders had four stops on the day.