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Houston Texans

Johnson carries Texans to win


Andre Johnson had the second-best game statistically of his career.

It took no longer than the first play of the game for Andre Johnson to sound the call to arms for the beleaguered Texans.

A play that seldom fails in practice was perfect when it counted Sunday as Johnson got behind two Seattle defenders on a go route and ran 64 yards for a touchdown to set the tone for Houston's 34-7 victory that snapped a four-game losing streak.

It had been a sad four-game run of losses prior to Sunday and to a man, the Texans vowed to make this a turnaround game. Johnson did something about it quickly.

"Coming into the game, we knew that their cornerbacks liked to sit on routes," Johnson said. "We were hoping they'd give us the coverage we were looking for. They did and we knew if we went on the quick count, we could catch them off-guard and it did. We wanted to throw a go route on the first play and it all worked out."

{QUOTE}Johnson finished with the second-best receiving day of his career. He had 11 catches for 193 yards and two touchdowns, the 64-yarder and a 17-yard score in the second quarter. It gave the Texans an inspirational start when they needed it the most. They improved to a 6-7 record.

"I told David Anderson before the Jacksonville game that I was going to go out and lay it on the line for my teammates," Johnson said. "I said I was going to try to have the five best games of my life."

Johnson also was conscious of speculation about coach Gary Kubiak's job.

"There are a lot of rumors that get said," Johnson said. "You don't want to see anybody lose their jobs. I've been here seven seasons and I've had a ton of different teammates, so that's not something you want to see happen."

Quarterback Matt Schaub had confidence in the first play.

"It was big to come out and start the way we did with the big play to Andre," Schaub said. "It really set the tone for the game. That not only gets us off to a good start offensively, it gives the defense a lot of emotion and adrenalin to play, and the special teams as well."

Schaub and Johnson ripped the Seahawks' defense apart in the first half. Schaub completed 24-of-28 passes for 336 yards in the first half. Johnson had 11 catches for 184 yards at intermission. Schaub's yardage total tied Steve Young for the third-most yards thrown in an NFL first half since 1991, when the league started keeping such figures.

Drew Brees holds the record at 346 first half yards and Tom Brady has 345.

"If we find a way someday to bottle that for four quarters, it'll be a happy day," Kubiak said. "That's the most explosive half of football I've ever been around. I've never been around that."

Seattle coach Jim Mora wanted above all to contain Johnson. It didn't happen.

"In the first half, he tore us up, starting with the first play," Mora said. "We were playing quarters coverage and he just ran right by our guys. We rolled up on him and they threw it elsewhere. If we put him in single coverage, he won. He's an outstanding player."

The Texans' 24-0 early lead was the largest in team history before allowing the opponent to score. It took Johnson only five catches to reach 100 yards on his catches. It was his 30th career 100-yard game and his fifth this season.

"I told them at halftime we were going to be just as aggressive as we were in the first half," Kubiak said. "We fumbled with nine minutes left and the game is fixing to be over, so we were just trying not to do anything to help them get back in the ball game. So did we dial it back, yes."

The Texans kept Johnson in the game, trying to break his personal receiving record.

"I tried to give Andre two chances there to make a play because I knew he was close to a record," Kubiak said. "I wanted to give him a chance, but we didn't get that done."

Johnson didn't know how many catches he had at halftime and he wasn't upset about not getting the record.

"I don't get caught up into that," Johnson said. "I didn't really know what I had at halftime. I figured I had 6-7 balls."

Schaub hit 29-of-39 passes for 365 yards and one interception.

"We had a few plays in the second half to be made and we missed some opportunities but our defense played well," Schaub said. "We were just trying to get out of there with a win. We tried to get Andre a couple of more catches but talking to him beforehand, that really wasn't important to him. He just wanted to win the game."

Johnson was pleased to get the victory with or without the record.

"The first play set the tone," he said. "Normally, when something like that happens, it puts you in a good spirit. Guys feed off of it."

EDITOR'S NOTE: Michael A. Lutz worked for The Associated Press for 38 years covering news and sports in Louisville, Ky., Dallas and Houston. Most of that time was spent in Houston covering the Oilers, Astros, Texans and other college and pro teams.

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