DeAndre Hopkins was magnificent. Again.
The Texans receiver capped off a brilliant 2018 with a Sunday against Jacksonville that saw him pull down a dozen passes for 147 yards in the 20-3 victory. He walked into the building this morning with a shirt styled in the print of a jungle cat, and proceeded to roar on the field during the win.
"DeAndre's the best receiver in the game" quarterback Deshaun Watson said after the win, which secured an AFC South title for the Texans. "He's just been doing incredible things."
For the season, the All-Pro caught 115 passes for 1,572 yards. 11 of those receptions were touchdowns. According to the Texans media relations department, Hopkins joined Jerry Rice, Marvin Harrison and Brandon Marshall as the only WRs to record at least 100 receptions, 1,500 receiving yards and 11 touchdowns in multiple season in NFL history. At the postgame press conference, Hopkins brought Texans legend Andre Johnson to the podium with him. Johnson, who shares the franchise record for 115 catches in a season, was proud of his friend and former teammate.
"To see what he's accomplished, and the things he's doing out on the field, it's amazing," Johnson said. "I'd line him up against anybody in the NFL. He continues to do it, week in and week out."
Hopkins racked up a 100-yard receiving game for the third straight week, and it's the seventh time this year he cracked the century mark. But the last two weeks he's been hobbled by an ankle injury that limited him in practice. He gutted it out, though, and still turned in a remarkable performance despite being matched up with one of the game's greatest cornerbacks in Jalen Ramsey.
"We knew for us to win this game, we were going to have to attack him," Hopkins said of the individual matchup. "We couldn't just shy away from him. He's going to play one-on-one, and that's what I want every time."
Hopkins got what he wanted, and for one of the rare times in Ramsey's career, the Jacksonville corner came out on the losing end in the matchup with a pass-catcher.
"I had some good coverage and he still made some good catches," Ramsey said. "He got me on one long ball that was really nice. I dropped one of my opportunities. It was a good battle but I'll chalk this one up to him."
Hopkins was happy to succeed today, and this season. But he was happier his gaudy numbers came in an 11-win year for the Texans.
"That's even better," Hopkins said. "A lot of guys have amazing seasons, but their team isn't where it should be. I think everything I've been doing has been correlating to my team winning, which is even better."
Head coach Bill O'Brien is happy he has Hopkins, who he described as the "ultimate competitor on Sundays", on his offense.
"He always wants the ball," O'Brien said. "He understands coverage and he's a great football player."
Hopkins and the Texans are headed to the playoffs, and will host a Wild Card game next weekend at NRG Stadium, or a Divsional round contest at home in two weeks.
Check out the best photos from the Week 17 match-up with the Texans and Jaguars.