Foster, Texans control Bengals, time in win

Foster, Texans control Bengals, time in win
January 5, 2013, 10:30 pm
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The Texans’ game plan was simple: Give the ball to Arian Foster.

And the Bengals couldn’t stop him.

Foster ran 32 times for 140 yards and a touchdown in the Texans’ 19-13 win over the Bengals in a wild card round playoff game on Saturday at Reliant Stadium.

“Well I think we controlled the line of scrimmage,” Foster said. “Anytime we do that it’s going to be tough to beat us because we eat up clock. Our offense is predicated off of the run and it opens up the boot. We have guys all over this team that can make plays so anytime we control the offensive line, we’re going to be OK.”

Foster had 86 yards at halftime – 33 more than the entire Bengals’ offense and quickly crossed the 100-yard plateau in the second half. In doing so, he became the first player in the history of the NFL to rush for at least 100 yards in each of his first three playoffs.

“He’s a man,” head coach Gary Kubiak said. “I just talked to him in the locker room. I’ve been around some good ones, and this guy, the bigger the game. The whole stadium knew we had to line up and run the ball and boy, was he at his best there at the end. He’s become a fine, fine player and it just seems like the bigger it gets, the better Arian gets."

In his three career playoff games, Foster has 425 yards and four touchdowns. He’s averaging 5.12 yards per carry in those games. His 425 yards is a new NFL record for any player in his first three playoff games, crushing Fred Taylor’s mark of 383 in 1998-99.

But Foster wasn’t alone on Saturday. The Texans’ offensive line was able to control the Bengals’ front, which allowed Foster to run free.

Amazingly, the Texans won the time-of-possession battle 38:49 to 21:11. That then allowed the defense to shut down the Bengals’ offense, which only mustered 198 yards of total offense.

“I think that’s what this team is built around,” Foster said. “It’s built around keeping htat offense on the field. It’s what we take pride in. We take pride in running the ball, our big guys up front, we know they can move the pile and they trust me with the ball in my hands. That’s what we’re built on and that’s what we want to continue to do.”

Foster’s 32 carries were the most for a running back in a playoff game since Shaun Alexander had 34 against Carolina in the 2005 NFC Championship game. And, Foster became the first back to rush at least 32 times for at least 140 yards since Lamar Smith in 2000.

“Absolutely, everybody feeds off him and he’s proved it throughout his career so far that every time he gets in a big game, he shows up,” fullback James Casey said. “He leads us. He puts us on his back, especially with games like that. He’s our go-to guy.”  

But Foster wasn’t just dynamic on the ground, he also became a threat in the passing game. He caught eight passes for 34 yards too.

But what stuck out to the team was that when the game really mattered, the Texans were happy to put it on Foster’s shoulders. And Foster was happy to have it there.

“That’s what you grow up wanting,” Foster said. “You want the ball in your hands when the game is on the line and tonight the game was on the line. This organization, this coaching staff, this team trusted me to put it in my hands. Anytime you have that on your shoulders, I mean, that’s what I work for, that’s what every guy works for, so when it’s a playoff game and it really matters, you can come through for your guys.”