The Texans were trailing the Titans in the fourth quarter and wide receiver Andre Johnson was on the bench being evaluated for a concussion.
In past years, that would have spelled disaster for the Houston offense because there wasn’t another pass catcher dynamic enough to make a game-changing play to put the Texans back in business. That’s why they drafted DeAndre Hopkins this offseason and Hopkins delivered in a major way.
He caught passes on three straight plays to set up Arian Foster’s game-tying touchdown in the fourth just before Johnson was injured and then caught two more in overtime, including the game-winner in the 30-24 victory, after Johnson was out of the game. It was a coming-out party for a player who was drafted to complement Johnson but plans to surpass him in the years to come.
“I feel like I can be better than Andre,” Hopkins said, via the team’s website. “That’s my mindset. And that’s what Andre tells me. [He says] Don’t try to shadow yourself when you know you can be better.”
The Texans don’t need Hopkins to be better than Johnson at the moment. They just need him to be good enough to keep defenses from shutting them down by shutting down Johnson, something he’s proven capable of doing in each of the team’s first two games.