Originally written on 60 Max Power O  |  Last updated 9/19/12

The Houston Texans are a team set in its ways. Under head coach Gary Kubiak, now in his seventh season as the Texans’ head man, the team has been known for it’s offensive prowess, particularly the zone-blocking running scheme. In the early part of Kubiak’s tenure, the Texans frequently shuffled their tailback position trying to find somebody who would stick. Heading into the 2010 season, it appeared the Texans still didn’t have that guy on the roster when they spent their second round draft pick on Auburn RB Ben Tate. Tate would break his ankle during the preseason that year, paving the way for second-year undrafted RB Arian Foster to get a shot at the starting job. 


The rest is pretty much known. Foster has become one of the game’s elite running backs while Tate has proven to be an NFL quality starting RB when he steps on the field to spell Foster. Unquestionably the league’s top RB duo, the Texans run much of their offense through Foster and Tate, staunchly dedicating themselves to the run game while also utilizing both in the pass game out of the backfield. With uncertainty surrounding the Texans’ pass catchers heading into the 2012 campaign, the team made the decision to heavily lean on their backfield pair, which thus far has paid huge dividends.

At 2-0 with two straight 20-point victories, the Texans’ have won in a manner that many would call “old school” or “traditional”. In today’s NFL where the passing game rules and quarterbacks put up 300 yard passing games like it’s nothing, the Texans win with defense and running the football. Where many may see this as a thing of the past, I should note that the two most impressive teams so far this season, the Texans and the San Francisco 49ers, both play this style of football. 

Offensively, the Texans’ game plan starts and ends with Foster and Tate. Both struggled some in week one against the Miami Dolphins, largely in part to a retooled offensive line still working on fine tuning their cohesiveness. Sunday against the Jacksonville Jaguars was a different story. Tate exploded with one of the best performances of his career, finishing with 74 yards on 12 carries (and a whopping 6.5 yards per carry) to go along with four catches for 23 yards and two rushing touchdowns. Foster recorded the seventeenth 100-yard rushing game of his career, carrying the ball 28 times for 110 yards while hauling in six passes for 37 yards and one rushing TD of his own in becoming the franchise’s all-time leading rusher (3,286 yards).

Foster and Tate combined to get roughly 60% of the touches Sunday and accumulated about 60% of the team’s total offensive yardage. Clearly, the Texans rely on Foster and Tate to carry a heavy load week in and week out, as they should. The entire Texans’ offensive strategy revolves around the running backs, and Foster and Tate has thus far stepped up to the plate. 

As the season continues for the Texans, it will be imperative that the team establishes the run early in every game to keep the defense off balance and open up the passing attack. As long as the O-line continues to improve and play the way they did on Sunday, it should be a very promising season for Foster and Tate. Their backfield duo is an unmatched advantage league wide, and the Texans know it. 

Be sure to check out other great articles at Sports Media 101.

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