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CHALLENGE AWAITS

Posted Dec 13, 2012

Houston’s Arian Foster is the next big back to face the Colts this season. Foster is the NFL’s sixth-leading rusher and poses the usual formidable threat.

INDIANAPOLIS – Arian Foster is three-for-three against the Colts.

 

Foster never has failed to gain more than 100 yards in a game against Indianapolis, and his 163.7 average over those games has been troublesome for Indianapolis.

 

The Colts have encountered some of the league’s top backs this year – Matt Forte, Adrian Peterson, Maurice Jones-Drew, Shonn Greene, Stevan Ridley, Chris Johnson, C.J. Spiller, Trent Richardson – and they close the season with Kansas City’s Jamaal Charles sandwiched between Foster twice to end the year.

 

Houston is one of three teams with a 3,000-yard passer and 1,000-yard rushers and receivers, and Foster poses a threat as the Colts try to move to 10-4.

 

“(It’s) a little bit different scheme than what we’ve been facing, a lot of power teams in the past and now it’s a stretch-cut team,” said defensive coordinator Greg Manusky.  “We have to make sure we set the edges and make sure we funnel everything back inside.  Good back, good sight lines.  We’re up to the challenge.”

 

Foster debuted against the Colts in 2010 with 231 yards and three touchdowns on 33 rushes in a 34-24 Texans win, only their second victory in 17 tries against the Colts to that point.

 

He since rushed for 102 and 158 yards in games against the Colts, and stopping that phase of the Houston offense is a priority.

 

“We’ve faced a lot of great backs this year, and we’ve shut a lot of guys down,” said Houston native Cory Redding.  “Do your job.  Set the edge, get up the field and pursue the ball, having not one but seven, eight, nine, 10 guys to the ball. 

 

“Every week it’s stop the run, first and foremost.  This week is like every other.”

 

Houston employs an effective blocking scheme and staying vertical is necessary for defenders.

 

“I think every defense that I’ve seen them play against has trouble stopping the running game because of how good they are at zone blocking,” said Interim Head Coach Bruce Arians.  “Whether you’re in a five-man front or a four-man front if they can get you on the ground, they’re going to crease you.  You’ve got to stay on your feet.  You’ve got to stay level and you’ve got to stuff the guy in front of you because you can’t get out of your gap and lose the integrity of the defense.  Just trust that the next guy is going to get there.”

 

Since 2006, Houston has won 89 percent of its games when it topped 30 rushing attempts.  It is just 16-46 when rushing less than 30 times, 3-30 when doing so less than 25 times. 

 

Foster is second in the league with a 95.0 yards per game rushing average since 2010, trailing only Peterson (96.7).  His 153 receptions for 1,397 yards during that span put his scrimmage total at 5,385, and his 128.2 average leads the NFL.  Foster also tops the league with 46 scrimmage touchdowns since 2010.

 

Foster reached 5,000 scrimmage yards in 40 games, a pace slower only than those of Edgerrin James (36) and Eric Dickerson (39).

 

“He’s a good running back.  The type of scheme they run, he finds a hole and hits it well.  We have to get 11 hats to the ball,” said Antoine Bethea.

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