If starting running back Arian Foster is unable to play this Sunday against the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday Night Football, the game will be over before it even starts.
Without Foster and even possibly Ben Tate, who will the Houston Texans turn to on the offensive side of the ball?
“Arian went out and stretched, did some stuff and did some walkthroughs,” Texans head coach Gary Kubiak said this week. “He worked with the trainers. I think he’s going to do everything he can to be there. But I think it’ll be an end of the week decision, so we’ll see. He did do some things, just not with the team once we got going.”
If Foster is unable to play, this is a worst case scenario for the Texans, who are coming off a bye week with five consecutive losses. Plus, they are facing the AFC South-leading Colts, who are 5-2 overall.
So, even with Foster playing in the game, I have a bad feeling for the Texans as far as the outcome of the game. If they have to play the game without their starting running back … well, the host Texans not could, but will, be in for a long night.
I’m adding into this the real possibility that Tate won’t be playing in the game either because he’s trying to heal from broken ribs.
Texans offensive coordinator Rick Dennison said on the running back situation:
“I have no idea. Whoever is out there, we’re working with. We expect all of our guys to step up and play. We have some backs, and we’ll play with the guys that are out there.”
That is code speak for if we don’t have Foster or Tate, we are doomed. (At least that’s my interpretation).
With the real possibility of Foster battling the hamstring injury come Sunday, even if he plays, they will not have the same player who has compiled 121 carries for 542 yards in seven games this season.
What really hurts is Foster was turning up the level of his play lately with a stretch of games from week 4-6 where he had games of 102, 98 and 141 rushing yards. In his most recent game against the Kansas City Chiefs, where he suffered the injury in the first quarter, he was held to 11 yards on four carries.
Did I mention the Texans are starting a quarterback who’ll be making just his second NFL start against a good Colts team?
The Texans’ only hope is that Foster or Tate play in this game, because if not, there will be no question they will suffer their sixth consecutive loss of the season.
If neither play, the season might be over at the halfway mark with no hope of the postseason in sight.