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Follow the leader? Arian Foster laughs at washed up talk, shows he's ready for another major burden

Arian Foster Texans Rams
Arian Foster is at the top of his game, trying to carry the Houston Texans. Photo by Michelle Watson/CultureMapSnap
Arian Foster Texans Rams miss
Arian Foster made plenty of Rams miss once he got into the open field. Photo by Michelle Watson/CultureMapSnap
DeAndre Hopkins Texans down
Texans wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins couldn't hold on when Houston needed it most. Photo by Michelle Watson/CultureMapSnap
Arian Foster Seahawks run
Matt Schaub's best move these days is handing off to No. 23. Photo by © Michelle Watson/
Arian Foster Texans Rams
Arian Foster Texans Rams miss
DeAndre Hopkins Texans down
Arian Foster Seahawks run

It always made as much sense as the logic behind the government shutdown. Or Two and a Half Men being a popular show.

This notion that Arian Foster wasn't quite the same player, that he wasn't quite as devastating an offensive weapon, never held water. Not among anyone who really knew football.

Still, it persisted in some fantasy football circles — and in the minds of some strangely Ben Tate obsessed Houston Texans fans. 

About that . . . Foster absolutely obliterated any idea that he's not one of the most dominant running backs in the NFL Sunday, tormenting the St. Louis Rams with continuous displays of brilliance. His first carry of the day turned into an 18-yard burst up the right side. Five of his first nine carries went for more than 10 yards. His second-to-last touch of the first half would end up being a 41-yard catch-and-run in which Foster made two Rams whiff tackle attempts in the open field.

 Whether Foster can change the trajectory of this Texans season remains in serious doubt. But his increased role off the field figures to help the franchise somewhere down the road. 

Foster finished the first half with 144 total yards on only 12 touches. Any questions?

Of course, the Texans also found themselves down 17-6 to a 2-3 St. Louis team. On their way to an embarrassing 31-6 deficit. And there's your dilemma.

No matter how dominant Foster is he cannot push the Texans to glory as long as the quarterback remains shaky, the defense remains penalty prone and young players like Keshawn Martin keep giving away the football. There are limits to a running back's powers.

Which doesn't mean Foster's not making a hell of an effort. Foster is doing what he's always done on the football field when given a real chance. What's different is how much responsibility he is taken off of it.

With Matt Schaub caught in his own personal hell, Arian Foster is emerging as the Texans' new clear offensive leader.

It's the running back who took it upon himself to call a team meeting after that debacle against the Seahawks. Foster is doing everything he can to try and put the Texans back together again. He's been more available to the local media as the tension has mounted, seemingly making a point of being in front of his locker on Wednesday — the first day of availability — this week.

No. 23 seems to understand more and more of the burden needs to fall on him in his fifth NFL season. Whether Foster can change the trajectory of this Texans season remains in serious doubt. But his increased role off the field figures to help the franchise somewhere down the road.

Of course, teams like the Rams would just like some help trying to tackle Foster.

The Rams built a 10-0 lead — as other Texans jumped into the Schaub meltdown game. Cornerback Kareem Jackson never looked back at the ball and ended up with a 40-yard pass interference penalty that set St. Louis' first touchdown. Rookie wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins held the ball loosely and watched it get ripped out linebacker Alec Ogletree deep in Rams territory.

And still, No. 23 kept coming at them, darting here . . . no there . . . finding plenty of slices of open field. Foster walked all over Jeff Fisher's team. But he can't change everything alone. No matter how hard he tries.

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