HOUSTON (CBS Houston) – Andre Johnson is one of the best, most dominant players in the NFL today and if you look at his stats with all of the information that goes along with it that becomes very apparent. If you just look at his regular season stats he played in seven games and averaged 70 yards and over 4.5 receptions per game. That’s not bad but there is so much more to what Andre brings to the table.
First of all, 70 yards per game is good but by no means does it put Johnson in the upper echelon of wide receivers in the NFL. For the season he ranks 20th in yards per game. However, with a slightly deeper look some of those numbers make more sense.
In the first three games of the season Johnson accounted for 95, 93, and 128 yards respectively. However, in the fourth game of the season Johnson went down in the first half when he had only accumulated 36 yards. The hamstring injury ended his day and kept him out for almost two months.
When he returned to face Jacksonville it was with Matt Leinart because Schaub had just injured his foot in the previous game. Johnson had an anemic performance with two catches for 22 yards. However, that is because Leinarat was knocked out of the game. The fact that the Texans lost their first and second string quarterbacks essentially within one half of football (Schaub was not diagnosed until after the Tampa Bay game) scared Kubiak into being ultra conservative with his only quarterback left on the roster.
// Rookie, fifth round draft pick, T.J. Yates accounted for just 31 total yards through the air in the second half of the Jacksonville game. That was not a knock on Johnson nor was it a knock on Yates. The Texans had a lead and it was imperative that Yates not be injured. The Texans pounded the ball with the best 1-2 punch at running back in the NFL and iced the game, but that didn’t help Johnson’s stats any.
The next week Johnson and the Texans faced the Atlanta Falcons. Johnson started off hot with four catches for 97 yards. However, in the third quarter he injured his other hamstring and had to leave the game.
Johnson missed the rest of December and returned just in time for the final game of the season. However, with the 3rd seed locked up Kubiak decided to rest Johnson (as well as several other key players). Johnson did play in the game but only for 18 snaps because they couldn’t risk him re-injuring his hamstring.
In those 18 snaps Johnson had two catches for 21 yards. That means that the final four games of the season for Johnson he was either injured in the game or the team wasn’t trying to throw the ball to him.
This left some question as to whether Johnson was ready to come back and play at an elite level. However, in Johnson’s first ever playoff game he came up huge with five catches for 90 yards including a 40 yard touchdown which put the lead out of reach.
Johnson is truly a special player but many times a player’s career is ignored in favor of their post-season performances (see Dan Marino). If Johnson wants to take his place among the elite of the elite to ever play the position he must not only continue to excel next week against the Ravens but he must will his team to win and continue their march into the post-season.