Arian Foster carried the Houston Texans offense on a day when nothing would come easy. And he almost earned himself the most unlikeliest of smooches in the process.
"Arian was great," Texans owner Bob McNair said. "That last run he made for a (game-sealing) first down . . . I told him I wanted to go out there and kiss him."
Foster didn't end up getting the team owner's literal kiss of approval. Instead, McNair just helped him up.
"He's a Man," Texans coach Gary Kubiak says of Foster.
But the fourth-year running back who keeps setting new playoff records surely appreciated the love. Foster would give plenty to his teammates, touching the ball on more than half of the Texans' total offensive plays (40 out of 77) and producing 174 yards.
He scored the lone offensive touchdown of the game for either team in a 19-13 Texans win and . . . well, just played like people are accustomed to seeing him play under the bright lights of the playoffs.
"He's a Man," Texans coach Gary Kubiak says of Foster. "I just talked to him in the locker room. I've been around some good ones and this guy, the bigger the game . . . "
When the Texans took over on downs with 2:44 left, clinging to a six-point lead, Foster would carry the ball on four of the next five plays. Everyone in the stadium, everyone in the all-time record Reliant Stadium crowd, every one of the Bengals defenders, knew it would be going to No. 23.
And the Bengals still never touched the football again — with Foster sealing it with a 10-yard run on second-and-8. A run that had McNair thinking of a smooch. However momentarily.
Which was long enough for Foster.
"I don't think he would have gotten that far man," Foster says. "Don't get me wrong. Bob is a good guy. I don't want a kiss from Bob though.
"A nice little hug would do."