NFL: Arian Foster Leads 5 Players Finally Rounding Into Form

Kraig LundbergAnalyst IIIOctober 2, 2011

NFL: Arian Foster Leads 5 Players Finally Rounding Into Form

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    As Week 4 of the 2011 NFL season continues, five players/units have finally begun to produce like they were expected to before beginning the season on a slow note.

    One of those players was Houston Texans running back Arian Foster, who abused a solid Pittsburgh defense in a 17-10 win.

    Foster had been sidelined with a lingering hamstring injury, but he showed why he was still the starter with his play against the Steelers.

    Take a look at who else had great weekends and proved to be getting out of their respective funks.

Arian Foster, RB, Houston Texans

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    As I said before, Arian Foster had been out of the lineup with a hamstring injury for most of the first three weeks.

    Second-year back-up Ben Tate, who was injured for all of his rookie season, was outstanding in Foster's absence.

    Tate made some wonder whether Foster would ever fully wrest the starting position back.

    However, Foster proved that he was still the best man for the job, gashing the Steelers for 155 yards and a touchdown on 30 carries, averaging 5.2 yards per attempt.

    The defending rushing champ finally looks to be fully healthy and ready to wreak havoc.

Chris Johnson, RB, Tennessee Titans

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    Tennessee Titans star Chris Johnson couldn't have started the 2011 season in a worse way, especially after signing a huge contract that he fought for throughout the shortened offseason.

    That same man became just the sixth player in NFL history to hit the two-millennium mark on the ground.

    He started the season with 98 yards and zero touchdowns on 46 carries in the first three games of the season.

    Johnson finally seemed to get out of his slump this weekend, rushing for 101 yards on 23 carries against the pillowy-soft Cleveland Browns.

    If Johnson can build upon that success, he should still be able to have a great season and help the Titans challenge the Houston Texans for the division crown.

Matt Cassel, QB, Kansas City Chiefs

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    The Kansas City Chiefs finally got their first win of the season, defeating the underachieving Minnesota Vikings 22-17.

    Quarterback Matt Cassel has been overrated ever since signing a huge contract with the Chiefs, but the way he started the 2011 season was nothing short of disastrously awful.

    However, with 18 completions on 29 attempts for 260 yards and a touchdown, Cassel returned to his mediocre self that Kansas City fans have come to somewhat tolerate.

The Carolina Panthers' Rushing Game

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    I'm cheating a little bit on this one, but based on how Carolina started the year on the ground and how they played this game, it's appropriate to include the whole unit.

    Although the Panthers lost to the Chicago Bears today, they finally seemed to find the solid ground game that Came Newton was supposed to lean on throughout this season.

    Newton still threw 46 passes and Carolina carried the ball just 26 total times, but the 169 yards and two touchdowns were a good sign.

    Both the touchdowns were run by Newton, who had 35 yards on eight carries, but DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart made the most of their opportunities by combining for 134 yards on just 18 carries.

    The biggest difference between this game and the last game was this stat: 3.2.

    That's the difference between today's yards-per-carry average of 6.5 and the previous three games' average of 3.3.

    It seems as though Carolina has finally found a running game to go with their surprisingly potent passing game, which could mean more wins for this struggling franchise.

Frank Gore, RB, San Francisco 49ers

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    What is this, the week of the running back?

    In all seriousness, today seemed like a great day for a running back who wanted to break out after struggling to start the season.

    Frank Gore of the San Francisco 49ers, who upset the Philadelphia Eagles 24-23, was just the next guy in line on Sunday.

    Gore started the year with 59 carries for 148 yards and one touchdown through three games, and average of less than three yards per carry.

    But Gore came out and tore the Eagles apart with 127 yards and a touchdown on just 15 carries.

    If the Miami (FL) product can stay healthy and continue to dominate, he could have one of his best seasons yet.