A position-by-position look at the Texans' 2011 season
Andre Johnson missed nine games in 2011 with hamstring injuries. Not surprisingly, the Texans' production at wide receiver took a big hit in his absence. Four of the Texans' six 100-yard receiving games in 2011 came from running backs.
Johnson had 33 catches for 492 yards and two touchdowns in 2011, all career-lows. It was the first time since he was drafted third overall in 2003 that he didn't lead the Texans in receiving yards. It also was the first time he didn't catch at least 60 passes, ending his NFL-record streak of eight consecutive seasons to start his career.
A five-time Pro Bowler, Johnson had 21 catches for 316 yards in the first three games before suffering a non-contact hamstring injury in Week 4 against Pittsburgh. He returned in Week 12 at Jacksonville only to hurt his left hamstring a week later against Atlanta. Johnson played in the regular-season finale and had 13 catches for 201 yards and a touchdown in the first playoff games of his career.
Kevin Walter had 39 catches for 474 yards and three touchdowns in 2011. He played in 15 games, starting 14. He injured his shoulder in Week 1, prompting speculation that he would miss 8-12 weeks. He missed just one game before returning to the lineup.
Jacoby Jones had 31 catches for 512 yards and two touchdowns, including an 80-yarder at Tampa Bay that was the Texans' longest play of the season. He played in all 16 games with a career-high 10 starts.
Bryant Johnson appeared in all 16 games and had six catches for 90 yards and a touchdown. Veteran Derrick Mason had six catches for 55 yards in seven games.
Wide Receivers in Review
Starters: Andre Johnson (9 games), Kevin Walter (14), Jacoby Jones (10)
Newcomers: Bryant Johnson (free agent), Derrick Mason (in-season trade), David Anderson (in-season free agent), Jeff Maehl (undrafted rookie)
Injuries: Andre Johnson (hamstring, Weeks 4-10, 13-16), Walter (shoulder, Week 2), Lestar Jean (shoulder, preseason)
Notable number: 120 – Games it took Andre Johnson to reach 700 career receptions, making him the second-fastest player to the milestone in NFL history (Marvin Harrison, 114) and 35th player overall. Johnson's 700th catch came on an eight-yard pass from rookie quarterback T.J. Yates in the third quarter at Jacksonville in Week 12.
Season highlight: Week 14 at Cincinnati – On a play that will long rank as one of the most memorable in Texans history, Walter caught the game-winning six-yard touchdown pass from Yates with two seconds remaining to complete a thrilling 20-19 comeback victory – a victory that clinched the Texans' first AFC South title. Walter was wide open over the middle on the play, which came on second-and-goal and capped a 13-play, 80-yard drive. Walter had six catches for 76 yards in the game against his former team.
Quotable: "There is going down, and then there is going down. The way he went down was deflating because it was like he just got shot, so that scares the heck out of you." - Texans coach Gary Kubiak on Andre Johnson on Oct. 2, after Johnson went down untouched with a hamstring injury against the Steelers at Reliant Stadium
"I gave him a ball. He's a great player, and he's going through a tough time right now. I've watched him stick with this organization for nine years, and I wanted his teammates to know how proud we are of him." - Kubiak on Johnson on Dec. 11, after the Texans clinched the division at Cincinnati; Johnson was inactive with a hamstring injury
"You have to execute or you lose the football game. That's what it's all about... We got it done when it counted." - Walter on Dec. 11, after catching the game-winning pass at Cincy
"I could stay up here all day talking about that kid. He's a man, now. You're going to get the same thing every day or every week. I got on the elevator with him at the hotel Saturday night, me and a couple of the coaches, and he was white as a ghost, didn't look very good. We asked him how he was doing. He said, 'Coach, I'm fine. I'm ready to go.' That's Kevin." - Kubiak on Walter on Dec. 12; Walter missed practice the previous Friday with an illness, rendering him questionable for the Bengals game
"I said the day that I was drafted that this was something that I wanted to be a part of. It's a very special feeling. It's probably the most that I have smiled in a long time." – Johnson on Jan. 7, after catching six passes for 90 yards and a touchdown against the Bengals in the first playoff game in Texans history