Of all the bright spots in the Houston Texans 21-20 win over the Jacksonville Jaguars today, one of the most encouraging was this.
DeAndre Hopkins is back.
With Tom Savage in, and Brock Osweiler benched, Hopkins looked like the player many expected him to be this season, pulling in eight catches for 87 yards, and becoming a real factor.
“He’s a dog,” cornerback Jalen Ramsey said about Hopkins. “He’s a fierce competitor. Really good player. Heck of a player. Much respect to him.”
After emerging as a top-10 wide receiver last season, and staging a one-day holdout in training camp this summer, Hopkins struggled to make the same impact in 2016.
Before today, he cracked 75 yards only once this season, when he had 113 yards on seven catches all the way back in Week 2 against the Kansas City Chiefs. Even after today’s performance, Hopkins ranks tied for 42nd in the NFL in receiving touchdowns (4), 41st in yards and tied for 32nd in receptions (60).
But with Savage under center, Hopkins looked like the franchise player many thought he’d become — even when pitted against one of the best up-and-coming pass defenders in the game.
As head coach Bill O’Brien contemplates the short- and long-term future of the Texans QB position, one of the biggest factors has to be what happened today at NRG Stadium.
With Savage under center, Hopkins was once again one of the best players in the game.
Matt Hammond hosts Saturdays from 1-4 pm on SportsRadio 610, and fill ins during the week. You can, and totally should, follow him on Twitter @MattHammondShow.