The Steelers have given up over 5 yards a carry to a pair of backs already this season, and it won’t get any easier in Houston.
Arian Foster, who won the NFL rushing title a year, is expected to start and get the bulk of the carries Sunday in the Texans’ 1 p.m. game against the visiting Steelers.
Foster, who has been plagued by a nagging hamstring injury, played in the second week of the season. The Texans held him out last Sunday against the Saints so he could get back to or close to full strength.
“All indications are that he should be fine here going forward for the season,” Kubiak said today during a conference call with the Pittsburgh media.
Foster’s return should only strengthen a ground game that has been carried by second-year man Ben Tate, who is fifth in the NFL with 301 rushing yards.
It could also put pressure on a defense that is allowing almost 100 rushing yards (99.3) after yielding just 62.8 rushing yards per game last season.
Kubiak said he isn’t buying into the notion that the Steelers are more vulnerable against the run this season.
“I see the same great defensive football team,” Kubiak said. “They’re dominant physically, that’s what they pride themselves on. I don’t see any change there and it’s a challenge to us to stay away from negative plays because they can create a lot of negative plays.”
The Steelers are 2-1 despite ranking last in the league in turnover ratio (minus 9) and struggling to run the ball. Kubiak said that is a testament to the Steelers knowing how to win — something the Texans are trying to learn to do.
“It shows me how mentally and physically tough they are as a team,” Kubiak said, “and that’s what’s so impressive.”
– Scott Brown