Facing star back Peterson a tall task for Texans

Facing star back Peterson a tall task for Texans
December 19, 2012, 7:06 pm
Share This Post

Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson, left, runs for a 13-yard gain as St. Louis Rams defensive tackle Kendall Langford defends during the second quarter of an NFL football game Sunday, Dec. 16, 2012, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Tom Gannam)

(APWF)

HOUSTON (AP) The Houston Texans can't help but be impressed by what Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson is accomplishing this season.

On Sunday when they face the Vikings, the Texans want to make sure they aren't on the wrong end of history. Peterson enters the game against Houston just 188 yards shy of becoming the seventh 2,000-yard rusher in NFL history.

``This year he's definitely the best,'' veteran Houston linebacker Bradie James said. ``I played against Ricky Williams in his heyday when he would just run over everybody. I played against the Bus (Jerome Bettis), the Bus was great in short yardage. I played against Mike Alstott. I played against all these guys, and what Adrian Peterson is doing right now, I hadn't seen it before.''

``We don't want to be on the end of his record setting,'' he continued. ``We've got to do our job and really not get caught up in all that.''

The Texans (12-2) need a win to secure both a first-round bye and home-field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs. To do that they'll have to slow Peterson, the NFL's leading rusher.

``It's going to be the biggest challenge we've had around here in a while,'' Houston coach Gary Kubiak said.

The Texans' defense led by star defensive end J.J. Watt is fifth in the NFL in yards rushing allowed a game with 93.2 - and Peterson is averaging 129.4. But he's been even more dominant of late, averaging 162.4 yards over the last eight games with two 200-yard performances.

``Peterson is a great running back,'' Watt said. ``He's playing as good as anyone in the league right now.''

When asked how to slow Peterson down, Watt had a simple answer.

``Tackle him,'' he said with a chuckle. ``We just need to play sound defense and execute our assignments and we'll be just fine.''

That's certainly easier said than done, and Kubiak is a bit concerned because he thought his team didn't tackle very well in Sunday's 29-17 win over Colts. He said that he's putting extra emphasis on better tackling with Peterson coming to town.

He's also hoping the Texans adjust well to facing a run-first team after weeks of dealing with pass-happy offenses.

``The thing that's really difficult is we've been playing teams that are a lot different,'' Kubiak said. ``We've been playing teams that kind of spread us out, throw the ball. Now all of the sudden we've got to line up and tackle the best in football. So we've got our work cut out for us.''

It isn't just the defensive front that is concerned about Peterson. Houston's secondary knows the entire defense must be aware of what Peterson is doing at all times. Houston's defensive backs know the Vikings could hurt them through the air, but with a passing offense that ranks last in the league, they're much more worried about the running game.

``Obviously he can't score a touchdown without running past the back end, and we know the secondary is the last line of defense,'' cornerback Johnathan Joseph said. ``You have to be on top of your tackling game 100 percent this week.''

Houston's defense could get a boost this week by the return of linebacker Brooks Reed, who started the first 11 games for Houston before missing the last three with a groin injury. Kubiak said he returned to practice Wednesday and that he has a ``good shot'' of playing Sunday if he doesn't have any setbacks in practice this week.

NOTES: Houston RB Arian Foster gifted each of his offensive linemen with a Segway personal transporter on Wednesday. The lineman squealed with delight when they discovered their presents, and learned how to ride them with help from Foster, who has had one for a while. ``I can't do anything without them,'' Foster said of Houston's linemen. ``It was just my way of giving back to the big fellas.''

-----

Online: http://pro32.ap.org/poll and http://twitter.com/AP-NFL

Texans - Team News
Alfred Blue - RB
Alfred Blue (ankle) remained limited in Thursday's practice. Arian Foster's caddie is in no danger of missing Week 9.
Oct 30 3:41PM Read More
Andre Johnson - WR
Andre Johnson (ankle) returned to Texans practice Thursday, getting in a limited session. Johnson was never in any danger of missing Sunday's game against the Eagles. With six teams on bye for Week 9, Johnson is a WR1.
Oct 30 3:40PM Read More
Arian Foster - RB
Arian Foster (knee) returned to Texans practice Thursday, getting in a limited session. The Texans are just managing their superstar back's reps. With DeMarco Murray facing the Cardinals' elite run defense, there's a case to be made for Foster as Week 9's No. 1...
Oct 30 3:39PM Read More
Alfred Blue - RB
Alfred Blue (ankle) was limited in Wednesday's practice. Blue got first-team reps with Arian Foster (knee) not practicing. The Texans also held out Andre Johnson (ankle) on Wednesday.
Oct 29 5:15PM Read More
Andre Johnson - WR
Andre Johnson (ankle) did not practice Wednesday. The Texans are limiting Johnson's reps for rest purposes. He didn't suffer any setbacks last week and should be fine for Sunday's game against the Eagles.
Oct 29 3:43PM Read More
Arian Foster - RB
Arian Foster (knee) did not practice Wednesday. It's a new injury for Foster. Coming off his three-touchdown performance, it's possible the Texans are getting him some rest. Foster will be a top-three running back in Week...
Oct 29 3:18PM Read More
Zac Diles - LB
Texans signed LB Zac Diles. CB Elbert Mack was waived in a corresponding roster move. Diles' addition is a sign the Texans aren't expecting Brian Cushing (knee) back for Week 9.
Oct 28 4:04PM Read More
Garrett Graham - TE
Garrett Graham was held without a catch in the Texans' Week 8 win over Tennessee. Graham was targeted just one time on the day, a seam shot from Ryan Fitzpatrick that predictably fell incomplete. Graham has been a very minor part of the offense, making...
Oct 26 4:53PM Read More
Andre Johnson - WR
Andre Johnson caught seven passes for 55 yards in the Texans' Week 8 win over the Titans. Johnson saw a team-high dozen targets. He was followed by Titans top CB Jason McCourty for much of the afternoon, leaving DeAndre Hopkins to work on sophomore Blidi...
Oct 26 4:44PM Read More
DeAndre Hopkins - WR
DeAndre Hopkins caught five passes for 95 yards in the Texans' Week 8 win over the Titans. Hopkins was targeted 11 times compared to 12 for Andre Johnson. Hopkins picked up chunk yards on all of his grabs, and was stopped at the five-yard line on one grab where...
Oct 26 4:24PM Read More
Alfred Blue - RB
Alfred Blue rushed for 42 yards on 14 carries in the Texans' Week 8 win over the Titans. Blue added a 22-yard catch. With the Texans clobbering the Titans late and Arian Foster having already piled up 173 yards and three touchdowns, Blue got plenty of run late...
Oct 26 4:11PM Read More
Ryan Fitzpatrick - QB
Ryan Fitzpatrick completed just 19-of-35 passes for 227 yards, one touchdown, and zero... Fitzpatrick was pretty bad for most of the day, begging to be picked off, but the Texans rode Arian Foster's legs to victory. Fitzpatrick's lone touchdown went to Foster on...
Oct 26 3:45PM Read More
Arian Foster - RB
Arian Foster rushed for 151 yards and two touchdowns on 20 carries in the Texans' 30-16, Week 8... Foster managed just 36 yards on his first 10 carries, but broke a 34-yard touchdown and had no trouble finding holes in the Tennessee defense from there on. Foster caught a...
Oct 26 3:21PM Read More
Jadeveon Clowney - LB
Jadeveon Clowney (knee) is active for Week 8 against the Titans. Clowney will play on a "pitch count," likely in pass-rushing and third-down situations. Good luck with Clowney and J.J. Watt, Zach Mettenberger. Inactive for the...
Oct 26 10:34AM Read More
Jadeveon Clowney - LB
Texans OLB Jadeveon Clowney (knee) is likely to play against the Titans, but will be on a... "I thought what he did what he had to do this week," coach Bill O’Brien said. "I think he’s got a good shot to play on Sunday." Clowney has been...
Oct 25 9:13AM Read More

More Team Talk