Andre Johnson answered question marks with exclamation points on Sunday in the Texans' 30-10 victory over the Miami Dolphins.
Dogged by nagging injuries the past couple seasons and early this preseason, Johnson showed why he still ranks among the NFL's best wide receivers. The five-time Pro Bowler finished with game-highs in catches (8) and receiving yards (119), including a 14-yard touchdown grab, against his hometown Dolphins.
"Andre is Andre," quarterback Matt Schaub said. "He is playing at an extremely high level. He is the best in the game, and he showed it today. He made a ton of great plays for me and helped me out in tough situations. He beat man coverage and made me look good."
It was a vintage performance for Johnson, 31, who on Sunday became the first Texans player to be part of 10 seasons with the team.
"He looked like the good ol' Andre that we're used to seeing," tight end Owen Daniels said. "I expect to see that the rest of the year from him. I know he's ready to play hard for us; he said that yesterday at the team meeting."
Speaking of that meeting, coach Gary Kubiak is normally guarded about the conversations his team has behind closed doors. But on Sunday, he shared what Johnson said to his teammates and coaches on Saturday night. It was a stirring speech from the normally soft-spoken star.
"He stood up and talked to his teammates about his career and what he wants to get out of his career and what this team means to him," Kubiak said. "I didn't have to say a darn thing after that."
Johnson says his message to teammates was to seize the opportunity in front of them. He followed his own advice on Sunday against Miami.
"I just wanted to go out and play to the best of my ability," Johnson said. "I wasn't really worried about showing anybody anything. I know what I can do, and that was pretty much it."
Johnson's highlight was his touchdown catch on a fade route. He barely got his second foot down in the end zone before running out of bounds. The score put Houston ahead 24-3 with seven seconds left before halftime. It also was the Texans' third touchdown in a two-minute span.
"Matt put the ball in a great spot," Johnson said. "He put it in the back of the end zone and I was able to get to it and get both feet down."
Texans chairman and CEO Bob McNair never doubted that his star player could return to form. After this game, nobody should have doubts.
"Andre was phenomenal," McNair said. "He made some great catches. He continues to be super. There is no other way to explain it."