1:00 PM ET, September 15, 2013
NRG Stadium, Houston, TX
Arian Foster's frustration was visible after being told to stay off the field during a drive in the fourth quarter Monday, and Houston Texans coach Gary Kubiak understands completely why his star running back would feel slighted.
He also believes fewer carries for Foster at this point may be in the team's best interests.
After surviving plenty of drama in its season-opening victory, Houston on Sunday hosts a Tennessee Titans team looking to prove last week's surprisingly solid defensive effort was no fluke.
The Texans fought back from a 21-point second-half deficit to tie San Diego at 28 in the fourth quarter, getting help from both Foster and backup Ben Tate in the running game.
Foster, though, appeared to be waved back off the field at one point by Tate, who elected to stay in. Foster, who ran 18 times for 57 yards compared to 55 on nine rushes for Tate, didn't seem to appreciate the gesture.
"They both want to be on the field. I understand that. I think that's a good thing for the team," Kubiak said.
He plans to have Foster and Tate split carries until he feels Foster, who didn't take a single rep in the preseason, is ready for a larger workload.
"I want to keep it somewhat close right now and watch them working to what's going on," Kubiak said. "I think Arian's been a player who's at his best when he carries the ball 25 times, so we'll head back in that direction (eventually). I think if we're running the football well and we're in the type of football game that we want to be in, I think there's plenty of carries to go around."
The Texans ended up completing their comeback Monday, as Randy Bullock kicked a 41-yard field goal as time expired for a 31-28 victory. Matt Schaub finished 34 of 45 for 346 yards and three touchdowns, two to tight end Owen Daniels.
Andre Johnson caught 12 passes for 146 yards.
"There's a lot of times people say, 'We'll get 'em next week.' Well that's not part of this team's make up," Kubiak said. "There's a belief there that regardless of what happens on any given Sunday, we can find a way to win a football game."
The Titans did just that last week despite spotting Pittsburgh a safety on the opening kickoff, winning 16-9 after holding the Steelers' offense to 195 total yards and keeping them scoreless until 1:23 remained.
The Titans allowed a league-worst 29.4 points per game last season while ranking 27th by giving up 374.9 yards per game. They hadn't allowed a team to gain fewer total yards since holding Pittsburgh to 127 in a 19-11 loss Sept. 19, 2010.
"That's what we're going to try to do all season long and keep fighting and not let the past keep up with us and turn this thing around for ourselves," Casey said. "We got a little swagger to us."
Tennessee took a cautious approach offensively, rushing 42 times for 112 yards while Jake Locker completed 11 of his 20 attempts for 125 yards. Chris Johnson rushed for 70 yards on 25 carries, and backup Jackie Battle scored the team's lone touchdown.
Coach Mike Munchak, though, doesn't believe his offense is one-dimensional.
"Next week it may be having to pass 40 times rather than run it 40 times, so we feel we have the people to do it either way," Munchak said.
Smith served a one-game suspension for ripping off the helmet of Miami's Richie Incognito in the preseason, while Reed is still recovering from offseason hip surgery.
Kubiak said it's a wait-and-see approach with Reed in practice this week.
"I think we're very close," Kubiak said. "Does he take more of a load than he did last week? We'll see, but I know we're very, very close. I think it's still a day-to-day thing right now."
Houston won both meetings last season, forcing nine turnovers while not committing any. Foster ran for 86 yards and a touchdown in a 38-14 win Sept. 30 before the Texans overcame 141 yards rushing from Johnson in a 24-10 victory Dec. 2.
Locker committed five turnovers in that loss.
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|Avg Points Allowed||19.5||26.0|
Team Averages & NFL Ranks
|TEAM OFFENSE||TEAM||PER GAME AVERAGE|
|TEAM DEFENSE||TEAM||PER GAME AVERAGE|
|Pass Yds Allowed||TEN|
|Rush Yds Allowed||TEN|
Head to Head Matchups (Since 2001)
|Tennessee leads 15-9|
|Dec 2, 2012||TEN 10, HOU 24|
|Sep 30, 2012||TEN 14, @HOU 38|
|Jan 1, 2012||TEN 23, @HOU 22|
|Oct 23, 2011||TEN 7, HOU 41|
|Dec 19, 2010||TEN 31, HOU 17|
|Nov 28, 2010||TEN 0, @HOU 20|
|Nov 23, 2009||TEN 20, @HOU 17|
|Sep 20, 2009||TEN 31, HOU 34|
|Dec 14, 2008||TEN 12, @HOU 13|
|Sep 21, 2008||TEN 31, HOU 12|
|Dec 2, 2007||TEN 28, HOU 20|
|Oct 21, 2007||TEN 38, @HOU 36|
|Dec 10, 2006||TEN 26, @HOU 20|
|Oct 29, 2006||TEN 28, HOU 22|
|Dec 11, 2005||TEN 13, HOU 10|
|Oct 9, 2005||TEN 34, @HOU 20|
|Nov 28, 2004||TEN 21, @HOU 31|
|Oct 17, 2004||TEN 10, HOU 20|
|Dec 21, 2003||TEN 27, @HOU 24|
|Oct 12, 2003||TEN 38, HOU 17|
|Dec 29, 2002||TEN 13, @HOU 3|
|Nov 10, 2002||TEN 17, HOU 10|
The Texans win probability hit 13.5% after Matt Schaub's pick-6 with 5:06 left in the 4th quarter and was as low as 8.2% in the 4th quarter of Sunday's 30-24 comeback OT win. In Week 1, Houston's win probability was as low as 2.1% in the 3rd quarter after the Chargers scored a touchdown extending their lead to 28-7.
FROM ELIAS: The Texans are the first team since the merger in 1970 to win each of their first 2 games of a season on the final play of the game. They kicked a game-winning field goal as time expired in Week 1 against the Chargers and then they won in overtime on a game-winning touchdown this week against the Titans.
ESPN Stats & Information