Orioles

Facing star back Peterson a tall task for Texans

201212161410510461661-p2.jpeg

Facing star back Peterson a tall task for Texans

HOUSTON (AP) The Houston Texans can't help but be impressed by what Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson is accomplishing this season.

On Sunday when they face the Vikings, the Texans want to make sure they aren't on the wrong end of history. Peterson enters the game against Houston just 188 yards shy of becoming the seventh 2,000-yard rusher in NFL history.

``This year he's definitely the best,'' veteran Houston linebacker Bradie James said. ``I played against Ricky Williams in his heyday when he would just run over everybody. I played against the Bus (Jerome Bettis), the Bus was great in short yardage. I played against Mike Alstott. I played against all these guys, and what Adrian Peterson is doing right now, I hadn't seen it before.''

``We don't want to be on the end of his record setting,'' he continued. ``We've got to do our job and really not get caught up in all that.''

The Texans (12-2) need a win to secure both a first-round bye and home-field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs. To do that they'll have to slow Peterson, the NFL's leading rusher.

``It's going to be the biggest challenge we've had around here in a while,'' Houston coach Gary Kubiak said.

The Texans' defense led by star defensive end J.J. Watt is fifth in the NFL in yards rushing allowed a game with 93.2 - and Peterson is averaging 129.4. But he's been even more dominant of late, averaging 162.4 yards over the last eight games with two 200-yard performances.

``Peterson is a great running back,'' Watt said. ``He's playing as good as anyone in the league right now.''

When asked how to slow Peterson down, Watt had a simple answer.

``Tackle him,'' he said with a chuckle. ``We just need to play sound defense and execute our assignments and we'll be just fine.''

That's certainly easier said than done, and Kubiak is a bit concerned because he thought his team didn't tackle very well in Sunday's 29-17 win over Colts. He said that he's putting extra emphasis on better tackling with Peterson coming to town.

He's also hoping the Texans adjust well to facing a run-first team after weeks of dealing with pass-happy offenses.

``The thing that's really difficult is we've been playing teams that are a lot different,'' Kubiak said. ``We've been playing teams that kind of spread us out, throw the ball. Now all of the sudden we've got to line up and tackle the best in football. So we've got our work cut out for us.''

It isn't just the defensive front that is concerned about Peterson. Houston's secondary knows the entire defense must be aware of what Peterson is doing at all times. Houston's defensive backs know the Vikings could hurt them through the air, but with a passing offense that ranks last in the league, they're much more worried about the running game.

``Obviously he can't score a touchdown without running past the back end, and we know the secondary is the last line of defense,'' cornerback Johnathan Joseph said. ``You have to be on top of your tackling game 100 percent this week.''

Houston's defense could get a boost this week by the return of linebacker Brooks Reed, who started the first 11 games for Houston before missing the last three with a groin injury. Kubiak said he returned to practice Wednesday and that he has a ``good shot'' of playing Sunday if he doesn't have any setbacks in practice this week.

NOTES: Houston RB Arian Foster gifted each of his offensive linemen with a Segway personal transporter on Wednesday. The lineman squealed with delight when they discovered their presents, and learned how to ride them with help from Foster, who has had one for a while. ``I can't do anything without them,'' Foster said of Houston's linemen. ``It was just my way of giving back to the big fellas.''

-----

Online:http://pro32.ap.org/poll andhttp://twitter.com/AP-NFL

Quick Links

Astros and Athletics clear benches, have a very non-socially distant brawl

Astros and Athletics clear benches, have a very non-socially distant brawl

Even amid the coronavirus pandemic, the normalities of a baseball season will continue on. That means players and managers getting heated, arguments with umpires and benches clearing. But because of the risk the virus poses, MLB has asked for those moments to remain socially distant.

The Houston Astros and Oakland Athletics did not follow that rule on Sunday.

After Athletics outfielder Ramon Laureano was hit by a pitch, he appeared to be exchanging words with a Houston bench coach. With no fans, the words can be heard loud and clear by everybody. That led to both benches clearing and not even six inches of separation between players. 

It's understandable for players to get angry and caught up in the moment, but this move by both teams is rather unacceptable given the current climate of the country and the sport. Though players are being tested constantly, this close contact between teams is unnecessary and only creates a larger risk for all involved.

The non-socially distant brawl comes at a bad time for baseball, as the league is dealing with numerous coronavirus-related issues. The St. Louis Cardinals have had at least 15 games postponed due to an outbreak within the organization, and that comes just after the Miami Marlins dealt with the same problem as well. Cleveland Indians pitcher Zach Plesac was reportedly sent home on Sunday after breaking protocol and going out with friends in Chicago on Saturday night.

Despite tightening up regulations for players, MLB still faces daily challenges while trying to operate a season during a global pandemic. Moments like the brawl between the Athletics and Astros don't help.

Stay connected to the Orioles with the MyTeams app. Click here to download for comprehensive coverage of your teams.

MORE ORIOLES NEWS:

Report: Big Ten, other Power 5 conferences leaning towards canceling 2020 season amid pandemic

Report: Big Ten, other Power 5 conferences leaning towards canceling 2020 season amid pandemic

The likelihood that college football is played this fall is looking bleaker by the day.

The commissioners of Power 5 conferences reportedly had an emergency conference call on Sunday evening to discuss the 2020 season, and the large majority of Big Ten presidents want to postpone the season due to concerns amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, according to ESPN's Adam Rittenberg.

Earlier this week, the Big Ten halted on moving forward with padded practices until more protocols are in place.

Moments later, reports surfaced that the Big Ten is leaning towards moving forward without a fall football season, and a formal decision could be made as soon as early this week, according to Sports Illustrated's Pat Forde and Ross Dellenger.

The cancelation or postponement of the 2020 college football season seems to be inevitable, multiple sources have told ESPN.

The news doesn't come as a surprise considering the current state of the pandemic in the United States. However, the Big Ten just announced a new, conference-only schedule earlier this week, so the timing is a bit odd.

The Mid-American Conference postponed football and all fall sports on Saturday. If the Big Ten becomes the first Power 5 conference to postpone football, and fall sports as a whole, it will be interesting to see how quickly (if at all) the other major conferences (SEC, ACC, Pac-12, Big 12) follow suit.

Stay connected with the MyTeams app. Click here to download for comprehensive coverage of your teams.

MORE NCAA NEWS: