Houston, TEXAS — For some reason, Houston Texans coach Gary Kubiak can’t pinpoint one area or reason why his team’s outstanding rushing attack has come to a complete halt in the last two weeks.
The same Arian Foster who led the league in rushing last season is back there in the backfield. And the line that opened all kinds of holes for him last year has also returned intact.
About the only thing missing from last season’s equation is injured receiver Andre Johnson— okay, and fullback Vonta Leach, but he doesn’t really count in this argument — whose absence as a big-play deep threat has made it easier for defenders to key on the running game.
The Texans have gained just 70 and 93 yards rushing against the Oakland Raiders and Baltimore Ravens, respectively, the last two weeks and both ended in defeats. But when you look at the four games Johnson started this season, Texans went over 100 yards rushing each time, no matter whether Foster was playing or second-year back Ben Tate carried the load. Houston averaged 148.5 yards per game in those first four games where they went 3-1.
It seems the Texans need Johnson to get back on the field from a hamstring injury as quickly as possible, but Kubiak believes the problems ailing his team can be fixed no matter who is in at wideout.
“First off, we’re not a bad running football team,” he said Monday. “I think we’re seventh in the league, but our standard of running the ball is very high and I don’t think we’ve met the standard the last two weeks. Where are my concerns? My concern is with the group.”
The 3-3 Texans need to either get it fixed or hope Johnson can return this week with a huge game ahead when they face Tennessee for first place in the AFC South.
(Photo: AP Photo/Dave Einsel)