Andre Johnson will remain out through bye

AP

When Andre Johnson first hurt his hamstring, it was estimated he might only miss 2-3 games.

Coach Gary Kubiak announced Friday that Johnson will miss his sixth straight game on Sunday because of the slow-healing injury.

The decision makes a lot of sense. Houston finally gets a bye next week, and the team is winning without Johnson. They can rely on Arian Foster and Ben Tate to take apart Tampa’s soft run defense. Houston’s defense has been on a roll and should be able to slow down a struggling Josh Freeman.

The news elsewhere was good on the injury front: Texans DE Antonio Smith, T Eric Winston and NT Earl Mitchell all returned to practice and will play.

Houston plays at Tampa Sunday. There aren’t many challenging games left on the Texans’ schedule. If they win games like this, team will have a great chance to get a bye in the playoffs.