Texans waste Tate’s performance in loss

Texans waste Tate’s performance in loss
December 1, 2013, 6:00 pm
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Tate on honoring Foster with TD bow

(USA Today Images)

Ben Tate did something the Texans have struggled to do all season. And he did it three times.

Tate scored three rushing touchdowns on Sunday after the team had just two in the 11 previous games but the Texans still lost their 10th straight game, this time to the Patriots 34-31.

Tate ran for 102 yards on 22 carries a week after rushing for one yard on seven carries against Jacksonville.

“It would have been great if we would have won,” Tate said. “Once again, we lost, so it takes that fun out of it a little bit.”

Tate became the first player in the NFL this season with 100-plus yards and three rushing touchdowns in a game. It’s the first time a Texan has had three rushing touchdowns since Arian Foster did it on Sept. 12, 2010 and Tate’s game was the third time in franchise history.

After Tate’s third touchdown, Tate broke out Arian Foster’s touchdown celebration, a Namaste bow. Foster, who is out of the season after having back surgery, was on the sideline for Sunday’s game.

“It was a salute to the big homey,” Tate said. “He is finally back here with us, but he is out and I know how tough it is on him to watch us play out there. This is something that he loves doing and I miss having him around; the competition, someone to talk to, and somebody to cut up with. It is different with him not being around. I told him that if I get three touchdowns; if I get one more, I was going to do that. I think it meant a little bit to him, so it was a good thing.”

Tate has taken over the starting running back job since Foster has been out. Tate is in the final year of his contract.

“We were pretty consistent today moving the football,” head coach Gary Kubiak said. “We stayed on course and made some third downs. I thought Ben played extremely well. I knew he would. I knew he’d come back and play well.”

The Texans got another rushing touchdown from Case Keenum late in the third quarter. Sunday was the first time in team history the Texans have scored four rushing touchdowns.

What makes Tate’s performance more impressive is that he’s still dealing with pain from his four cracked ribs. He’s played through the pain for several weeks now.

“I have a huge amount of respect for Ben,” left tackle Duane Brown said. “I mean, I already respected him but you know, it’s gone to another level. When you have that kind of injury, that doesn’t just heal as you’re playing every week. You know he’s been toughing it out week in and week out and today he just put on a heckuva performance. You know, just gutting it out. That’s all you can ask for.”