With a win Sunday over the Buffalo Bills, the Houston Texans may do something they haven’t done in over three NFL seasons: win without Arian Foster.
Foster, who was a game-time scratch before last week’s loss to the New York Giants after being listed on the injury report all week as questionable, has been a limited participant in practice this week with the same hamstring issue. If he’s unable to go, that would put to the test a streak of 11 straight games the Texans have lost without Foster in the lineup.
Their last win without Foster, via Sports Radio 610’s Mike Meltser, came on Sept. 11, 2011, their season opener three years ago. Ben Tate rushed for 116 yards and a touchdown in Foster’s stead as Houston manhandled the Indianapolis Colts and backup quarterback Kerry Collins, 34-7.
Since, the Texans haven’t been so fortunate without the one-time NFL rushing champ. They lost each of the eight games Foster missed while nursing a hamstring last season, and Weeks 2 and 17 in 2011 with Foster on the shelf. Foster played every game in 2012.
If Foster can’t go Sunday, the next man up would be sixth-round rookie Alfred Blue, as he was in last week’s loss against the New York Giants. In his first NFL start, Blue had 13 totes for 78 rushing yards, most on a 46 yard dash. Third-stringer Jonathan Grimes had only one carry for five yards.
Opposing the Texans will be the fifth-best rush defense in the NFL in the Bills, who have allowed only 83.0 rush yards per game, and maybe the best defensive line in football, one that features defensive end Mario Williams and defensive tackles Kyle Williams and Marcell Dareus. A tall order, indeed.
Either way, Foster can’t play forever. Eventually, the Texans have to figure out how to win without him. Still holding onto a one-game lead in the AFC South, and with the NFL’s third-easiest schedule, the Texans would be better served doing it sooner rather than later.
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