FOXBORO -- The Houston Texans are tied with the New York Giants for the league lead in fewest sacks allowed this season.
Sure, it's a credit to their offensive line. But according to Patriots linebacker Rob Ninkovich, it's even more of a credit to Arian Foster and the Texans' run game, which continues to make it easier on quarterback Matt Schaub in third-down situations.
"Well, I think they do a good job of running the ball, obviously," said Ninkovich after Friday's practice at Gillette Stadium. "And that sets up the play action. So it's not like guys are just letting loose out there and getting up the field every play. Because obviously if you did that, then they're going to run even more on you.
"And even when they're in third down, it's not like they're 3rd-and-12. They're 3rd-and-4, 3rd-and-5. So the ball's coming out quick, and it's not like Schaub's going to be back there patting the ball all day.
"It all comes down to doing your best to stop the run," added Ninkovich. "That kind of sets everything else up."
So to stop that run, Ninkovich says Monday night will be "all about hustle" for the Patriots' defensive front to get through the Texans' zone blocking scheme.
"They're all rolling," said Ninkovich. "So I think that's how they've been having some of those big plays in the running game. Everybody's running and the back side's getting cut down. So that's when the cutback comes and those big 20-yard runs come out."