At the end of the 2009 season, Arian Foster picked up 216 yards on 39 carries and scored 3 touchdowns in wins over the Miami Dolphins and the New England Patriots to close out the campaign. After these two games, Gary Kubiak entrusted Foster to take on the RB1 role in Houston.
In 2010, Foster rewarded Kubiak’s faith by having one of the best rushing seasons of the decade. Foster carried the ball 327 times for 1,616 yards, averaged 4.9 yards an attempt, and picked up 90 first downs. He led the league in rushing touchdowns with 16 and yards per game with 101. He also had 66 catches for 604 yards. The Texans finished second in offensive DVOA that season, albeit with a record of 6-10 because they had the worst pass defense in the league and one of the five worst defenses of the decade.
In a recent series, Football Outsiders is looking back at the previous decade in the NFL. Today on ESPN, FO reviewed the best teams, players, and units from 2019. By way of comparison, Foster had 552 rushing DYAR in 2010 (total value) and had the second best rushing season in the 2010s, second to Christian McCaffrey’s 2019 season.
2. Arian Foster, 2010 Texans (552 DYAR)
This may have been the most unexpected great season of the decade. Foster was an undrafted free agent who had a good partial season as a rookie: 257 yards on 54 carries in six games. Nobody could have expected him to be the All-Pro running back in his second year, leading the league with both 1,616 rushing yards (on 4.9 yards per carry) and 16 touchdowns. Foster also added in 604 receiving yards on 66 catches with two touchdowns. He was No. 1 among running backs in receiving value and No. 2 in rushing value (behind Charles) in the same season.
You miss Arian Foster. We all miss Arian Foster. Watching him cut back in Kubiak’s outside zone offense was a beautiful thing to witness from 2010 to the middle part of 2013. Bill O’Brien did a decent job keeping Foster in the same sort of run scheme in 2014. Sadly, Foster blew out his Achilles in 2015 in garbage time when the Texans were down by multiple touchdowns in Miami before retiring in the middle of the 2016 season with the Dolphins. Foster was like all running backs; he had a short time carrying the football on this Earth.
Words can only mean so much. Poetry can only describe the singing birds so well. It can never fully replicate the actual experience.