Published November 20, 2014
Arian Foster won the NFL rushing title and ruined Jacksonville's playoff hopes.
Foster ran for 180 yards and two touchdowns in the Texans' 34-17 victory over the Jaguars on Sunday.
Jacksonville (8-8) needed a victory and a Colts loss to Tennessee to make playoffs, but couldn't overcome the absence of its top two offensive players.
Trent Edwards started at quarterback for David Garrard, who underwent finger surgery Thursday, and Rashad Jennings rushed for 108 yards in place of Pro Bowl running back Maurice Jones-Drew, who sat out with a right knee injury that will require surgery this week.
Indianapolis wound up winning minutes after the Jaguars' game ended.
Matt Schaub completed 18 of 22 passes for 253 yards and a touchdown. He's thrown for 9,170 yards over the past two seasons, becoming the sixth quarterback to reach 9,000 yards passing in a two-year span.
But the finale belonged to Foster, an undrafted free agent who spent most of last season on Houston's practice squad. He burst onto the scene when he ran for 231 yards in the opener against Indianapolis and had eight 100-yard games this season.
Foster finished with 1,616 yards rushing, the highest single-season total for an undrafted player. He also had 604 yards receiving to become the sixth player in league history to reach 1,500 yards rushing and 600 yards receiving in the same year.
The Texans (6-10) won for only the second time in their last 10 games amid speculation that coach Gary Kubiak would keep his job but fire many of his defensive assistants.
Kubiak shot down a report that a decision had already been made about the future of coordinator Frank Bush.
"That's not true," Kubiak said after the game, adding that he would meet with owner Bob McNair on Monday morning.
Meanwhile, Foster took the suspense out of the race for the rushing title on his first carry, a 56-yard burst on Houston's third snap. Foster came into the game trailing Kansas City's Jamaal Charles by 32 yards and leading Tennessee's Chris Johnson by 111.
Foster finished the opening drive with the first of two touchdown runs. He weaved through the defense for a 35-yard touchdown with 10:49 left in the game, his 16th TD run of the season.
Houston's season was ruined by the defense's pattern of fourth-quarter breakdowns, but the unit held up fine in the finale.
Defensive tackle Amobi Okoye sacked Edwards and Josh Scobee missed a 46-yard field-goal try with 8:13 left. Cornerback Glover Quin forced a fumble and Houston recovered later in the quarter. It was a bit of atonement for Quin, who gave up a last-second desperation heave for the winning touchdown in the teams' earlier meeting in Jacksonville.
Foster embraced Kubiak when he walked off the field after his final carry with 1:54 left. He hugged Schaub and most of the starting offensive linemen as the final minute ticked off the clock.
The Jaguars had a chance to clinch the division at Indianapolis two weeks ago, but ended with three straight losses. Garrard made costly mistakes in a 20-17 loss to Washington last week, and the defense looked shaky in the finale, giving up 244 yards rushing and 497 overall.