On a day that began with the Lions’ Calvin Johnson wowing the crowd, it was the Texans’
“I didn’t know which Johnson I had when I looked at the stat sheet,” Texans head coach Gary Kubiak said. “One had 140 (yards) and one had 180 (yards). Andre’s rolling right now.”
Rolling indeed, as the Texans’ 10-year veteran finished with nine catches for a game-best 188 yards. At 20.9 yards per catch, Johnson’s masterful performance followed one from four days prior against Jacksonville, when he hauled in 14 balls for 273 yards. The combined 461 yards is the best consecutive-games receiving total in NFL history, as Johnson bettered Chad Johnson's 450 yards in a pair of November games from 2006.
Two extraordinary performances, met with very ordinary analysis from Johnson.
“I just try to make the best of my opportunities,” Johnson said. “I didn’t think we’d be playing another five quarters again, but when you go through stuff like that you gotta find a way to get it done.”
Johnson got it done, and got it done when it mattered most. He caught just three passes in the first half, but amassed 87 yards receiving. Amazingly, Johnson didn’t catch a pass after the intermission until the 6:39 mark in the fourth quarter. That was the first of his six fourth quarter and overtime catches, and he wound up with 101 yards receiving in that span. Kubiak took the blame for Johnson’s third quarter blanking.
“I didn’t get Andre the ball in the third quarter and early in the fourth quarter,” Kubiak said. “I was struggling to get him the ball with what they were doing. I told the coaches on the headset with about five minutes left in the game, ‘You know, we gotta find a way to get him the ball.’ So we started digging deep with some things we were doing. He’s working, and then some good things happened there late.”
His final reception of the day was a 23-yarder on the gamewinning drive. It pushed the Texans to Detroit’s 25-yard line, and two plays later
“He was being physical at the top, securing the catch,”
Johnson’s outburst pushed him to 1,058 receiving yards in 2012, the sixth time in his career he’s cracked 1,000. The torrid two games this week are not a surprise to Kubiak.
“He’s got confidence,” Kubiak said. “He’s playing his tail off right now. He’s healthy. He’s back in the best condition I’ve seen him in the last three years.”
For Johnson however, it’s still about the ultimate goal, which is a Super Bowl victory. The win was nice, but it’s still just November.
“We’re happy with it,” Johnson said. “We’re not satisfied. We know there are bigger goals out there that we want to achieve, and we’re just trying to set ourselves up in a good situation.”
At 10-1, with a full weekend of rest before a Week 13 trip to Tennessee, Johnson and the Texans are certainly in the right spot. For now.