HOUSTON -- Our delightful Stats and Info department offered the following statistic this week: Texans running back Ben Tate's yards after contact per rush are the best in the NFL.
He's averaged 4.5 yards after contact per carry. Tate has averaged 6.8 yards per rush overall, significantly higher than Arian Foster's average (and a number boosted by a 60-yard rush in the season opener). Foster averages 3.9 yards per rush and only 1.7 yards after contact.
This is the kind of stat the meaning of which is difficult to decipher since there are a wide range of reasons why so many of a player's yards might come after contact.
On the other hand, the ability to shake off the first tackle or push the pile is valuable. And those are things Tate has worked on being able to do.
"I pride myself on always trying to make the first guy miss," he said. "If you can't make him miss, once he hits you, try to break a tackle. I always promise not to let the first guy bring me down."
Tate's average is significantly higher than the next player, Buffalo's Fred Jackson who averages 2.94 yards after contact per rush.
"I think that's a good judge of a running back," Tate said. "If you're not making them miss, then after you're getting contact, how many yards are you getting? Because anyone can run through open holes."
The majority of the Texans' carries have gone to Foster this season. Until last weekend, the split was about two-thirds Foster, one-third Tate. Foster has played in 78 more snaps than Tate this season.
So far the Texans' coaching staff says they're pleased with how both players have done. What they haven't been pleased with is how little they've been able to run the ball. Historically, Gary Kubiak's Texans are at their best when they run the ball 30 or more times.