The Houston Texans 2013 season mercifully came to an end Sunday with a 16-10 defeat to the Tennessee Titans in Nashville. A season that began with so much promise and expectation, ended at 2-14 with fourteen consecutive losses. In spite of all of the team’s struggles, injuries, turmoil, and avalanche of defeats, the one constant that has been there since 2003 remained.
That constant was an amazing performance by Andre Johnson. An offense that was often times painful to watch due to quarterback instability and poor play, an up and down running game because of a plethora of injuries, nor an in season coaching upheaval could prevent Johnson from having yet another Pro Bowl season. As the Texans kept losing, Andre kept producing, finishing among the league leaders in receiving once again.
The final numbers for Dre were 109 receptions for 1,407 yards and 5 TDs. Those numbers are impressive for any receiver, but when you factor in the circumstances surrounding this Houston team in 2013, Johnson’s season was that much more noteworthy. Among the statistical milestones that Johnson achieved this year was becoming only the second player in NFL history to have five seasons of 100 or more receptions, joining Wes Welker on that very short list.
Also, he joined Marvin Harrison as the only two receivers to accumulate four seasons of at least 100-plus receptions and 1,400-plus yards. That is exclusive and not bad company for the man who should no doubt be the first ever Texan inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame one day. However, that day looks to be nowhere near soon, as Dre continued to show no signs of slowing down in his eleventh NFL season.
After many pundits wrote Johnson off following an injury plagued 2011 season in which he played in only seven games and posted career low numbers, he has responded with back to back 100 catch seasons. His numbers this year were only a slight drop off from the 112 receptions and 1,598 receiving yards he posted in 2012. The fact that he even came remotely close to the same production in a 2-14 season when Houston was the worst team in the league, as he did when they were 12-4 and amongst the NFL’s best speaks to how special of a player he truly is.
Johnson will be rewarded for his season by taking another trip to Hawaii to play in the Pro Bowl in January. Hopefully, he will be able to suit up in the Super Bowl one day before he hangs up the cleats. At 32 years old, and eleven seasons in the league, we know that he is on the downside of his career and that time may be running out. The fact that he still performs on such a high level week in and week out is fascinating to watch. It has been a privilege for the city of Houston to be first hand witnesses to the greatness that is #80.
The Texans have been fortunate to have him as an ambassador and face of the franchise through a decade that hasn’t always been pretty on the field. Let’s hope for a quick turnaround for the team, so that the greatness that is Andre Johnson will get that much deserved shot to play in the Super Bowl before he calls it a career. In a dark season that was very easy to forget, he was one again a ray of light for the home team.