Even as Arian Foster piled up crazy numbers through eight games, one large question remained. When would Bill O'Brien unleash him on deep wheel routes, the type of downfield patterns that New England running backs like Shane Vereen inflict such damage on?
Sure Foster's been a serious threat in the Houston Texans passing game (arguably the second biggest threat behind only budding star DeAndre Hopkins), but most of his routes are short looks designed to give Ryan Fitzpatrick a safety valve. This approach often seemed like a waste of Foster's game-breaking ability.
Well . . . now the Philadelphia Eagles and everyone else in the NFL know just how much damage Foster can inflict when he's allowed to go deep. The ego of former Texans linebacker Connor Barwin is particularly hurt by the revelatory reminder.
Connor Barwin never comes close to grabbing any bit of No. 23 jersey.
For O'Brien sends Foster long against the Eagles and Barwin is left exposed — and flailing at thin air.
When Foster sprints out into the right flat and keeps going rather than cutting off the route after five or 10 yards late in the second quarter, Barwin has no chance. Responsible for Foster in one-on-one coverage, the Eagles linebacker can only vainly dive at him after the catch.
Barwin never comes close to grabbing any bit of No. 23 jersey.
Foster sprints untouched into the end zone for a 56-yard touchdown that ties the game at 14. It's only the fourth longest catch of his career, but it's his longest in almost three years. Yes, Arian Foster is a legitimate deep threat.
As much as Connor Barwin would love to forget it.
Later, Foster has a moment that could haunt the Texans. He pulls up lame without being touched on a run and has to head to the sidelines. It looks like another hamstring injury for the Texans' most indispensable player.
Foster slams his helmet on the ground, staring at an impact afternoon ended much too early.