Motivated Benson This Week

After being the worst team in the league against the run after the first three games, the Texans have allowed only 89 yards in the last two games. Now they face Cincinnati and red-hot running back Cedric Benson.

Benson, who grew up in Midland, Texas and played at the University of Texas, bombed out with the Chicago Bears. Now he's found a home in Cincinnati, where he's helped the Bengals compile a 4-1 record with three consecutive last-minute victories.

Benson is a power runner who loves to run between the tackles. Middle linebacker DeMeco Ryans, strong-side linebacker Brian Cushing and tackles Amobi Okoye and Dan Cody have to contain Benson when he runs between the tackles.

Benson also has the speed to turn the corner. When he gets outside, he'll run into cornerbacks Dunta Robinson and Glover Quin, both of whom are physical against the run and sure tacklers.

What the Texans don't want is for Benson to break a long touchdown run. That problem plagued them in the first three games, but they've kept running backs from Oakland and Arizona bottled up the last two weeks.

Strong safety Bernard Pollard has started each of the last two games. At 6-1, 227, he's a large safety with a hard-nosed attitude. Like Cushing, he brings intensity to the field. Pollard has led the defense in tackles in each of his two games, including eight against the Cardinals.

Whether the defense improved against the run because of Pollard or was merely a coincidence, the bottom line is that the players will have to play their best run defense to contain Benson and slow down the Bengals' offense.


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