Thirteen years ago I attended my first scrimmage at the University of Miami. I was just hired as their new play by play man and had to study them quickly as the season would open in a couple of weeks. I noticed a wide receiver wearing number 5 torching everyone in his path.
After being told he would be the next Michael Irvin for the Hurricanes, I was told in the same breath that he would be red shirting. What? Andre Johnson would sit the 1999 season with future NFL players Santana Moss, Reggie Wayne, Daryl Jones and Andre King playing in front of him.
Two and a half years later, I’m in the Rose Bowl radio booth describing Andre Johnson catching passes for 199 yards in an MVP performance in the National Championship game against Nebraska. Sunday, I called his best pro game, 14 catches for 274 yards, featuring a 48 yard game winning touchdown catch and run in overtime.
Other than his final college season, I’ve had the good fortune to call every game in Johnson’s career. And he’s seldom looked better than he did against the Jaguars on Sunday. Like all the great ones, he makes it look easy. Seemingly effortless receptions for long gains, tough box-out type catches for first downs. Andre Johnson can do it all.
We can debate all day about whether he’ll get in to the Hall of Fame. But we can all agree he’s the greatest player in Texans history and has plenty of football left.
We’ve all heard the rumblings about the Texans passing game not putting up the big numbers. What many fail to realize (until today) is that they haven’t put up huge numbers because they haven’t had to. In only two games this year, they’ve had second half deficits that required a major game plan adjustment.
Against Green Bay, they failed. Against Jacksonville, they triumphed. We’ve seen Matt Schaub throw for big numbers before and rally his team. But Sunday, we saw a legendary performance that we will never forget. His 527 yards is good for a tie for 2nd in NFL history with Warren Moon behind Norm Van Brocklin’s 554. The five touchdown passes is a team record.
A week after playing a defensive slugfest (and masterpiece) at Chicago, the Texans lit up the scoreboard in record fashion. On a day their defense wasn’t firing, the offense cranked. This team can win a lot of different ways. Enjoy the ride.
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