Patriots expect tougher time stopping Foster

By HOWARD ULMAN - AP Sports Writer
    2013-01-08 17:47

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) - The New England Patriots found a way to turn Arian Foster from punishing runner into powerless bystander.

All they did was charge to a 28-0 lead, make the Houston Texans throw and keep the ball away from one of the most dangerous rushers in the NFL.

A month ago, the Patriots scored touchdowns on their first three possessions and routed the Texans, 42-14, as Foster gained just 46 yards on 15 carries.

Vince Wilfork, though, figures on a tougher challenge in Sunday's rematch on the same field in a divisional playoff game.

``I expect to see the best,'' the Patriots defensive tackle said Tuesday.

Something, perhaps, like Foster's brilliant performance in Saturday's 19-13 wild-card win over the Cincinnati Bengals - 140 yards on a season-high 32 carries, to go with eight catches for 34 yards and the game's only offensive touchdown.

That made him the first NFL player to rush for at least 100 yards in each of his first three playoff games.

Not bad.

``Last week, you saw why this guy is one of the top offensive players in the game, not just a back, but a top offensive player in the game,'' a rested Wilfork said after the team's bye week. ``The things that he can do with the ball in his hands, in the pass game and running it ... and he's a great blocker when they ask him to block. I mean he's a special player and we understand that.''

If he gets a chance to show it. He didn't on Dec. 10 at Gillette Stadium.

Foster rushed 12 times for 44 yards in the first half, which ended with the Patriots leading, 21-0. He had just three carries for two yards after that - and none after he scored on a 1-yard run with 6:12 left in the third quarter - as the Texans tried to preserve time by throwing the ball.

But New England (12-4) knew they would have to focus on that.

``Any time that you can get a team one-dimensional, that's a big plus. Every team tries to do that,'' Wilfork said. ``It just bottles up a bunch of things ... knowing when you can expect the pass, you can expect this and you can expect that.

``But when a team is on track and when they are running the ball good, and throwing the ball good, and the play action is good, and the special teams are good, it's tough.''

The Texans (13-4) can be dangerous when they go to play-action, as well, faking a handoff and then throwing. The Patriots know they can't fall for it and leave a receiver open while going after a runner who doesn't have the ball.

They must be disciplined.

``Just fundamentals. Just read your keys and just pay attention,'' linebacker Brandon Spikes said. ``Everybody has a job and my job is to pay attention to the run.''

That means focus on Foster.

He was sixth in the NFL with 1,424 yards rushing and eighth in yards from scrimmage with 1,641. He also was the leading scorer among non-kickers with 102 points - posting 15 rushing touchdowns as well as two on receptions.

``That was really a great example this past weekend of how they like to play football down there - be physical, be aggressive, run the ball, control the clock and really just do a good job of just handling the game,'' Patriots defensive coordinator Matt Patricia said. ``The run game going the way they have it going, obviously it sets up the play-action pass game.''

For Wilfork, a key is recognizing when Houston's offensive linemen use cut blocks.

``That running back sees it and he hits it right off that cut block. So, up front it's going to be very important for us to try to stay on our feet,'' he said. ``Any team that runs the ball the way they run the ball and has the play-action and the bootlegs and all the stuff that comes after that, it's a big challenge for us.

``But we've faced it.''

The Patriots, the NFL's highest scoring team, will need their usual productive offensive game to offset that and force the Texans to throw.

They've already done it once, right?

``They didn't play their best game. They know that and we know that,'' Wilfork said. ``It starts with their running game. It starts with Foster. The more touches that he gets, in the passing game or on the ground, the better that team is.''


Online: http://pro32.ap.org/poll and http://twitter.com/AP-NFL

Fantasy Football Player Notes RSS FeedPLAYER NOTES

Chris JohnsonDec 1 09:53a

Updating previous reports, Arizona Cardinals RB Chris Johnson (leg) could be out six to eight weeks with a broken tibia, according to sources.

Case KeenumNov 30 07:53p

St. Louis Rams QB Case Keenum (concussion) is still being evaluated for a concussion but is likely to be on the practice field in some capacity Wednesday, Dec. 2, [ More ]

Tyler EifertNov 30 07:23p

Cincinnati Bengals TE Tyler Eifert (neck) underwent tests on his injured neck, but they did not show any structural damage. His status for the Week 13 game against the [ More ]

Marlon BrownNov 30 07:13p

The Baltimore Ravens have declared DT Carl Davis, CB Cassius Vaughn, OT Eugene Monroe, DL Kapron Lewis-Moore, OG Kelechi Osemele, WR Marlon Brown, CB Tray Walker inactive for Week 12.

Andrew HawkinsNov 30 07:13p

The Cleveland Browns have declared WR Andrew Hawkins, CB Don Jones, CB Joe Haden, OG Joel Bitonio, CB Pierre Desir, DL Randy Starks, WR Taylor Gabriel inactive for Week 12.

Chris JohnsonNov 30 06:33p

Arizona Cardinals RB Chris Johnson (leg) suffered a fractured tibia during the team's Week 12 game and will miss an extended period of time. The team is still waiting [ More ]

Chris HarperNov 30 06:33p

New England Patriots WR Chris Harper was released Monday, Nov. 30.

Jimmy GrahamNov 30 06:23p

Seattle Seahawks TE Jimmy Graham (knee) was placed on the Reserve/Injured list Monday, Nov. 30, and DT A.J. Francis was signed from the practice squad to the active roster [ More ]

Trey WilliamsNov 30 06:23p

Dallas Cowboys RB Trey Williams was waived Monday, Nov. 30.

Karlos WilliamsNov 30 06:13p

Buffalo Bills RB Karlos Williams' (shoulder) status for the Week 13 game against the Houston Texans is uncertain at this point. Williams suffered a shoulder injury during the team's Week 12 game.

Rishard MatthewsNov 30 05:13p

Updating a previous report, Miami Dolphins WR Rishard Matthews (ribs) suffered multiple fractured ribs in Week 12 against the New York Jets, according to sources. There is no timetable [ More ]

Andrew LuckNov 30 04:53p

Indianapolis Colts QB Andrew Luck (kidney) is still the Colts' starting quarterback and will be under center when he's 100% healthy, according to head coach Chuck Pagano.

Rob GronkowskiNov 30 04:53p

Updating an ongoing story, New England Patriots TE Rob Gronkowski (knee) is not expected to play in Week 13 against the Philadelphia Eagles, according to sources. Gronkowski is likely [ More ]

Peyton ManningNov 30 04:13p

Denver Broncos QB Peyton Manning (foot) will get his walking boot off at some point this week, but there is still not definitive timeline for his return. For now [ More ]

Rob GronkowskiNov 30 03:33p

New England Patriots TE Rob Gronkowski's (knee) MRI revealed that he suffered a knee strain in Week 12 against the Denver Broncos. He will miss a week at most.

Andre EllingtonNov 30 03:33p

Updating a previous report, Arizona Cardinals RB Andre Ellington (toe) suffered a turf toe injury in Week 12, but the severity is unknown at this time.

Rob GronkowskiNov 30 03:03p

Updating a previous report, New England Patriots TE Rob Gronkowski (knee) is week-to-week, and his knee injury is considered more of a bruise than a tear, according to sources.

Allen HurnsNov 30 01:33p

Jacksonville Jaguars WR Allen Hurns (concussion) is going through the concussion protocol but has not been ruled out for the Week 13 game against the Tennessee Titans.

Dan HerronNov 30 01:03p

Indianapolis Colts RB Dan Herron will become the backup to RB Frank Gore with RB Ahmad Bradshaw (wrist) done for the season.

Rob GronkowskiNov 30 12:53p

Updating a previous report, New England Patriots TE Rob Gronkowski (knee) isn't dealing with any structural damage in his knee, but he still could miss Week 13.

Chase FordNov 30 12:43p

Baltimore Ravens WR Daniel Brown and OG Kaleb Johnson were promoted from the practice squad to the active roster Monday, Nov. 30, while WR Chuck Jacobs was released and [ More ]

Ahmad BradshawNov 30 11:53a

Indianapolis Colts RB Ahmad Bradshaw (wrist) was placed on Injured Reserve Monday, Nov. 30. RB Zurlon Tipton was signed to the active roster.

Rob GronkowskiNov 30 11:33a

Updating earlier reports, New England Patriots TE Rob Gronkowski (knee) is unlikely to miss more than one game, and may not even miss that, according to sources.

Cortland FinneganNov 30 11:13a

Free-agent CB Cortland Finnegan (Dolphins) signed with the Carolina Panthers Monday, Nov. 30.

Chris JohnsonNov 30 10:23a

Arizona Cardinals RB Chris Johnson (knee) has a bone bruise in his knee, but the team is awaiting results of an MRI Monday, Nov. 30, according to general manager Steve Keim.

Rob GronkowskiNov 30 09:33a

Updating previous reports, New England Patriots TE Rob Gronkowski (knee) will have tests Monday, Nov. 30, but the belief is he suffered no structural damage. His time out is expected to be minimal.

Rob GronkowskiNov 30 02:03a

Updating a previous report, New England Patriots TE Rob Gronkowski (knee) will have an MRI on his right knee. According to sources, the injury is not considered as bad [ More ]

Brock OsweilerNov 30 01:53a

Denver Broncos QB Brock Osweiler completed 23 of his 42 pass attempts for 270 yards, one touchdown and one interception in an overtime win against the New England Patriots in Week 12.

Ronnie HillmanNov 30 01:53a

Denver Broncos RB Ronnie Hillman rushed 14 times for 59 yards and a touchdown in the Week 12 game against the New England Patriots. He had one catch for [ More ]

C.J. AndersonNov 30 01:53a

Denver Broncos RB C.J. Anderson rushed 15 times for 113 yards and two touchdowns, including the game-winning 48-yard score in overtime, in Week 12 against the New England Patriots. [ More ]

Demaryius ThomasNov 30 01:53a

Denver Broncos WR Demaryius Thomas was held without a catch until late in the fourth quarter of the Week 12 game against the New England Patriots. While he was [ More ]

Emmanuel SandersNov 30 01:53a

Denver Broncos WR Emmanuel Sanders (ankle, finger) posted six receptions for 113 yards in the Week 12 game against the New England Patriots. He was targeted nine times.

RSS Feeds

NFL News:
Player Notes:
Forum Posts:

© 2015 RealTime Fantasy Sports, Inc.
Email Us  ·  Call Us 636.447.1170  ·  Lost Password
Advertising represented by USA Today Sports Media Group