PITTSBURGH — It's gone in a flash, disappearing in a way more diabolical than even what the wife in Gone Girl pulled off.
The Houston Texans and Arian Foster are dominating on Monday Night Football, looking like prime time stars. And then they're suddenly left looking like a guy stumbling around with his pants around his ankles.
Three touchdowns in an unbelievable 73 seconds can do that to you. In one of the most dramatic turnarounds you'll ever see in an NFL game, an nearly unfathomable turnaround, the Texans completely blow a 13-3 lead in a flash. Or three flashes, two turnovers and one trick play.
Mike Tyson in his prime left opponents less reeling than the Texans were, headed into halftime staring at a did-that-just-happen 24-13 halftime deficit.
The Texans completely blow a 13-3 lead in a flash. Or three flashes, two turnovers and one trick play.
A Foster fumble inside at the Texans' 3-yard line (after a start of pure Foster brilliance) and a Ryan Fitzpatrick interception deep in his own territory on back-to-back possessions in the last 90 seconds of the first half doom the Texans. Steelers coach Mike Tomlin rubs it in by having his top wide receiver, Antonio Brown, throw a touchdown pass on play that has Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger blocking and the Texans defense completely befuddled.
The game's sudden flip is even more jarring considering how dominant Foster seems early.
The Houston Texans' offensive lifeline excels at rising the level of his game even higher in the NFL's prime time moments.
The Steelers barely know what hit them on Monday Night Football early. Just that it was wearing No. 23. Foster has 59 yards on the Texans' first drive, 73 yards by the end of the first quarter.
And just like that, Foster makes the Texans' excruciatingly slow starts this season history. A Houston team that scored 14 points total in the first quarter this season (that's 14 points in six first quarters) puts up 10 points in the first 16 and 1/2 minutes of this game.
For that, Bill O'Brien can thank Foster.
Foster's impact is most felt on a third-and-6 on the Texans first offensive possession. Rather than try a low percentage pass with Ryan Fitzpatrick, O'Brien places the ball in Foster's hands. The result? Foster rips off a 33-yard run, completely changing the tenor of the drive and the beginning of the game.
Later, Foster bursts free for an 11-yard run on a fourth-and-inches to set up an easy Randy Bullock field goal. Then, the nightmare happens. Then, Foster is fumbling and the Texans are falling apart.