Foster, Texans Run Past Steelers in 17-10 Victory

It looks like Arian Foster will be playing today against Pittsburgh, but what else is going on?

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Foster's Big Day, Johnson's Injury Highlight Victory

Houston, TX (Sports Network) - Arian Foster ran for 155 yards, including the go-ahead 42-yard touchdown scamper in the fourth quarter, leading the Houston Texans to a 17-10 victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers at Reliant Stadium.

Foster was back in the lineup after missing two of the first three games this season because of a hamstring injury. He had just 33 yards on 10 carries in his lone previous action -- a Week 2 win against Miami -- and on Sunday demonstrated the form that made him last year's NFL rushing champion.

The Texans (3-1) bounced back from last week's loss at New Orleans and did so with a balanced offense that sputtered initially when star receiver Andre Johnson went down late in the second quarter with what appeared to be a hamstring injury. Johnson caught four passes for 36 yards before leaving the field on a play in which he was not hit. He was in street clothes on the sideline in the second half.

Matt Schaub complemented Foster's big day with a 14-for-21, 138-yard passing effort and Houston won despite a number of costly penalties that negated a Pittsburgh fumble in its own territory, a blocked field goal that was returned for a touchdown and an interception that was run back for a score.

Ben Roethlisberger completed 16-of-30 passes for 206 yards with an interception for the Steelers (2-2), who had beaten Seattle and Indianapolis after a humbling 35-7 loss to Baltimore in the opener.


 

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Steelers Dominate Third, Set Up Tie Game To Open Fourth

Was it just my imagination or did the Steelers have the ball for the entire third quarter? I think the Texans were lucky to only be tied right now instead of down. If they had gotten any offensive production at all in the third, this would be a totally different story. 

Since Andre Johnson left with the injury, Pittsburgh has outgained Houston 209-32. You're not going to win many NFL games with numbers like that. Last week, Matt Schaub showed the Texans can come back when needed, as they scored that late touchdown to Kevin Walter to take back the lead. However, without Dre...

The Texans really need to come out in the fourth quarter and sustain a drive. That'll give the defense a chance to rest and eat up some of the clock. Both of those things are going to be important to this quarter. I'm just hoping Houston can end up on the right side of this game, but I'm afraid they're going to rely too much on the run without Johnson and it appears Pittsburgh has figured out how to stop Foster.

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First Half Ends On Blocked Field Goal, Texans Lead 10-0

After the Steelers put together their first good drive of the game, the Texans decided to deny them any points. After getting  a stop on third down, Roethlisberger decided to try and draw the Texans offsides. When that didn't work, he let the clock run down and called a timeout. 

That set up a chip shot of a field gaol, which Houston promptly blocked to preserve the shutout. The increasingly important Johnathan Joseph came up with the ball, but a dumb block in the back by Danieal Manning negated the return for a touchdown and, with the clock expiring, the Texans didn't get another play. It was yet another damaging penalty in a half full of them for Houston. 

Let's take a quick look at the numbers: 

 

  • Matt Schaub is 10 for 15 passing for 95 yards with a touchdown. 
  • His leading receiver is Andre Johnson, who has four catches for 36 yards, but went into the locker room early after collapsing without being hit on a catch over the middle. Johnson was holding his knee on the ground, but the fact that they let him walk off the field is a little encouraging to me. Looked eerily like the play where Wes Welker blew out his ACL for my taste.
  • What can you say about Arian Foster? After not really playing all season, he has ripped through the Steeler defense for 96 yards on 19 carries. Add in one catch for 8 yards and he's already topped 100 all-purpose yards by halftime and reached his "20 touch" limit which most national commentators said he'd be held to. 
  • The Texan defense has done a good job, limiting the Steelers to just 125 total yards and seven first downs. However, 77 of those yards have come through the air to Mike Wallace. Houston needs to figure out how to slow him down in the second half.
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Penalties Lone Black Mark On Great Opening Quarter For Texans

What a difference a healthy Arian Foster makes in this offense. After struggling to get yards in the red zone last week, the Texans just carved up the Steelers defense with Foster, who consistently bounced off tacklers and made savvy runs to put them in position to score early.

That touchdown was a sign of how dangerous Foster and the running game can be, as the Texans pulled off a beautiful run fake, leaving Owen Daniels wide open for the short touchdown. Foster already has 69 rushing yards while Daniels has three catches for 30 yards.

Those penalties have still hurt Houston as holding calls and an especially ill-timed illegal contact call kept the Steelers first drive alive, even after Connor Barwin came up with a strip sack of Ben Roethlisberger. As expected, Wade's defense has been able to put consistent pressure on Big Ben and has done an especially great job of bottling up Rashad Mendenhall to this point.

Lots of game left to play, but so far, the only team beating the Texans is themselves.

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