Hopkins Picks Up Johnson's Slack And Seals The Victory
By Emin Avakian
He was turning heads and making his presence felt throughout the offseason, particularly in preseason games.
For rookie DeAndre Hopkins, the promising play proved it could translate when it mattered and resonated at the most opportune time, as his first career touchdown also sealed a victory for the Houston Texans in their 30-24 overtime win over the Tennessee Titans, Sunday.
The game-winning, three-yard touchdown pass from Matt Schaub highlighted a solid coming out party for Hopkins, whose 117 yards set a franchise record for the second-most yards receiving ever by a Texans rookie. Andre Johnson's 122 yards in 2003 is tops on that list.
Ten years later, Johnson is forced to leave games due to injuries and Hopkins is picking up the slack and making a case for the team's next superstar wideout.
Through two games this season, Hopkins is second to Johnson in receptions and receiving yards for the 2-0 Texans. Moreover, Hopkins is another nice option for Schaub and an offense that already boasts the likes of Johnson, Arian Foster and Owen Daniels. Against the Titans, Schaub went to Hopkins for a crucial 25-yard hook up in the extra frame--one of seven completions to the rookie out of Clemson.
Moments later, Hopkins' touchdown won the game in the only possession of overtime.
Despite the undefeated record, Houston has been underwhelming to start the season. Brian Cushing's game-winning touchdown in the season opener has somewhat nullified the defenses struggles that has given up 26 points per game. Cushing, J.J. Watt and company will need to shore up their play, with the team's toughest stretch of the season upon them: week three at Baltimore, week four versus the Seahawks and week five at San Francisco.
Schaub's three touchdown effort in both contests has led a familiar high-scoring offense, but Arian Foster's health and production are becoming a concern. The all-pro running back is averaging 3.7 yards on his 37 carries and has seen the endzone only once.
Fortunately for the Texans, the competition in the AFC South is looking subpar thus far, and should allow for an 11-win season. With Superbowl aspirations, however, the next three games are going to be ideal standard-barriers.