Arian Foster Threatens Ravens' 100-Yard Rusher Streak


The Texans are down to their fourth-string quarterback.

Thad Lewis or Case Keenum will take his first snap of the season Sunday against the Ravens.

With one of the inexperienced quarterbacks getting the starting nod, the top priority for Baltimore's defense is to stop All-Pro running back Arian Foster.

"Anytime you have a quarterback situation that's in flux, a quarterback's best friend is the running game," defensive end Chris Canty said. "It's easy to turn around and hand the ball off to a special running back like No. 23."

The Ravens routinely talk about stopping opponent's running game, and they've backed up that talk this year. The Ravens haven't allowed a 100-yard rusher in 24 straight games. The last back to cross the century mark against Baltimore was Green Bay's Eddie Lacy on Oct. 13, 2013.


Keeping opposing running backs under 100 yards is a point of pride for the defense, and it's especially critical this week when the Ravens expect Houston's offense to run through Foster.

"You have to think that the best player on that offense is No. 23," outside linebacker Elvis Dumervil said. "He's been a great player all year. That's our No. 1 emphasis every week, but more important this week."

While protecting the 100-yard rusher streak has been a major talking point, rookie Timmy Jernigan said he just found out about it on Wednesday. 

"That just goes to show how much pride guys have in this program. Dominating is natural," Jernigan said. "That's the standard around here. It isn't something that happens every now and then. No, it's expected week in and week out, year in and year out. It's just what we live by."

Jernigan will shoulder much of the responsibility to stop Foster and the running game, as he's taken over a starting role since veteran Haloti Ngata was suspended. The Ravens are actually giving up fewer rushing yards per game without Ngata (72.5), compared to the 12 games with him (86.3).

"I think we've done a good job," Jernigan said. "Not just with me, but there are a whole bunch of other guys who have been doing a great job."

Keeping Foster under that mark won't come easy, as he's having a resurgent season in Houston. He currently ranks sixth in the NFL with 1,127 rushing yards and eight touchdowns. He also has 294 receiving yards and four scores.

He's come up with solid production against the Ravens throughout his career, but he's never gashed the defense for a huge day. In four games against Baltimore, Foster has averaged 75.3 rushing yards and scored three touchdowns. He's topped 100 yards against the Ravens just once, in 2010.

"They have one of the best backs in football – he's always giving us all kinds of trouble," Head Coach John Harbaugh said.

Houston's quarterback position is the great unknown this week – Texans Head Coach Bill O'Brien doesn't plan to publicly announce a starter before Sunday's game – but much of Baltimore's focus will be on the running game regardless of the quarterback.

"They're going to go out and try to establish the run, so we'll all be ready for him," Dumervil said.

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