Houston Texans Lead AFC South With Help From Arian Foster

Sam McIntoshCorrespondent IOctober 5, 2010

There is a new sense of confidence surrounding Texans fans
There is a new sense of confidence surrounding Texans fans

For the first time in franchise history, the Houston Texans will enter Week 5 of the NFL season with a winning record and sole possession of first place in the AFC South. 

With a history of consistent disappointment and mediocre performances, Houston Texans fans have struggled through the years.

The sour feelings are FINALLY turning sweet in Houston.

After an impressive 31-24 win in Oakland, the Texans improve to 3-1 without the 2009 NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year, Brian Cushing. 

Missing action for the first four games due to a suspension, the Texans had obviously planned around Cushing's absence. Perhaps the toughest obstacle was overcoming the absence of other key players. 

All-Pro wide receiver Andre Johnson was inactive for Sunday's game. Head coach Gary Kubiak made the decision to sit Johnson late Saturday night.

The game plan changed quickly and the players responded well. 

The Texans were also without free safety Eugene Wilson, defensive end Connor Barwin and left tackle Duane Brown.

Newly emerged star Arian Foster didn't see action until the end of the first half thanks to a disciplinary issue. Jacoby Jones sat out the entire second half due to an injury. Bernard Pollard was busted up and continued to play. 

Get the point? 

For the first time ever, the Texans are playing through adversity like champions. The guys on the field have been stepping up and making plays. 

With everybody healthy and playing, it is hard to find many flaws. 

Cushing will make his 2010 debut on Sunday, Oct. 10 against the New York Giants. Not only will he help to eliminate the underneath passing game—an essential factor in improving the secondary—he will provide a spark to the unit that they have been missing at times this season.

Arian Who? 

Arian Foster, that's who. The NFL's leading rusher. The undrafted free-agent out of the University of Tennessee. A guy who, despite becoming one of Tennessee's best all-time leading rushers, was nicknamed "Fumbles Foster" by the Tennessee Volunteer fans.

According to ESPN's Bill Simmons, Tennessee Volunteer fans dislike Foster and claim he will, "ruin the Texans season." 

I think that's just fuel to the rapidly spreading fire that is Arian Foster.

Foster is on pace to have over 2,000 yards rushing and 16 TDs. I'm willing to bet 80 percent of people who read this will stop at those figures and collect their thoughts.

They are unfathomable numbers. 

Foster had 131 yards rushing and a TD on 16 carries in just over one half against the Raiders. He added 56 yards and a receiving TD. 

Statistics are one thing, film is another. Watching this kid run is beautiful. With his incredible vision, Foster makes great cuts and keeps his feet moving through the play.

He weaves in and out of holes like he's in slow-motion. He breaks tackles, makes guys miss and explodes in the open field.

I'm not being wishy-washy, it's truly a spectacle.

This kid is the real deal.

A bright future ahead

With Cushing back and Foster getting better behind an improving offensive line, the Texans' best is yet to be seen. 

For the first time as a Texan, Matt Schaub can relax and play his game. With a great running game, the Texans don't have to rely on huge numbers from Schaub every game.

This is looking more and more like the year the Texans finally surpass the Colts

There isn't a sense of impending doom amongst fans. There is a newfound confidence surrounding this team and its supporters.

With the Giants and Chiefs at home in the next two weeks, a record of 5-1 entering the bye seems more than reasonable. 

The schedule after the bye is tough, but this Texans team is tougher. 

Gary Kubiak has been conservative at times throughout his tenure. Typically, he would make a minimum bet to see how the hand that is the Texans season plays out.

This year, he's all in. And the house better get the bank ready.