The Houston Texans kicked off the 2010 NFL season in remarkable fashion when they shocked the Indianapolis Colts.
That start did not surprise many people, though, as many picked the Texans to continue with the progress they have made in recent years en route to their first ever playoff appearance.
After turning in the first winning record in franchise history last season the Texans entered into 2010 with high hopes. They brought back the league’s most promising aerial combination in quarterback Matt Schaub (who led the NFL in passing yards in 2009) and wide receiver Andre Johnson (who racked up over 200 more receiving yards than anyone else in the entire league last season). The team is now poised to challenge the Indianapolis Colts’ stranglehold over the AFC South.
More recently, however, after jumping out to an early 3-1 record, the Texans have experienced a bit of a reversal in fortune by losing three of the last four games. They currently find themselves a game behind both the Tennessee Titans and the Indianapolis Colts in the AFC South standings, and considering their recent struggles, look like more like the Texans of previous seasons than the team we saw during the early weeks of 2010.
But don’t let that fool you into thinking this is the same old Houston Texans team that has blown its chances at the playoffs.
The primary reason the Texans will continue on in the postseason hunt is the astonishing performance of running back Arian Foster. In a season where everyone expected Chris Johnson or Adrian Peterson to run away with the rushing title, Foster has come out of nowhere to dominate on the ground. Halfway through the season he leads the NFL both in rushing yards and rushing touchdowns. He has single-handedly carried the Texans to this point in the season.
Although Matt Schaub and Andre Johnson have not been able to find a rhythm yet that matches pre-season expectations, it is only a matter of time before they start to light it up in the air. Once that happens, the rest of the NFL better watch out, because an offense that features the league’s top run game, and complements it with what could be the top passing game, becomes the best offense in the league.
Obviously the Texans have an uphill climb ahead of them. Once more, they find themselves chasing Peyton Manning and the Indianapolis Colts in their division. Their defense has not done them any favors, either, as it allows more yards than any other team in the league. But unlike any other season since the Texans joined the league, there is no team that has dominated the AFC South. All four teams have shown flashes of brilliance, and all four have also turned in very forgettable performances.
In a toss-up division, with the potential of developing into the league’s most potent offense, there will be more than enough to keep the Texans in the hunt late into December.