Texans’ Tate believes he’s one of the best RBs in NFL

The Texans extended their franchise record with a 10th-straight loss against the Patriots on Sunday, but the game was a hard-fought one until the end unlike some of the team’s other losses this season thanks mostly to running back Ben Tate’s dominant performance.

After the loss Tate, who was the backup to starter Arian Foster until he went down due to injury, said he believes he is one of the best running backs in the NFL. It is a contract year for the running back and Tate is hoping to use the opportunity for more touches this season to land a lucrative deal as a full-time starter with a team in free agency, which is the leading factor for him playing through the pain of four cracked ribs suffered during the Week 7 loss to Kansas City.

“I take pride in that. I believe I’m one of the best running backs in the NFL,” Tate told the Houston Chronicle. “I take pride in even playing while hurt and trying to put up big numbers. I just take pride and I have a lot of pride and I believe in myself— I always have.”

Until Tate’s 102 yard, three touchdown outing during Sunday’s 34-31 loss to the Patriots —his first 100-yard game since Week 10 of his rookie season—Tate seen limited production on the field due to various injuries and other setbacks during his time since being taken with the No. 58 overall pick in the 2010 NFL Draft out of Auburn. Tate was even outplayed by his backup, undrafted rookie Dennie Johnson, during the Texans’ home-loss to the Jaguars in Week 12.

Now with only four weeks remaining in the season, Tate will being using his Week 13 performance as a launching point for the remainder of the season to show the doubters that he can handle the pressure that comes with being the No. 1 running back on a depth chart.

“I keep telling him every week, “Hey, you keep going, you keep fighting,'” backup running back Johnson said. “I said, ‘I look up to you now, man, because you’re out here fighting with four broken ribs. How many people can do that?'”

Follow Shawn Ramsey on Twitter: @ShawnPRamsey