Tugging on Superman’s cape

How Deandre Hopkins surpassed Andre Johnson as best WR in Texans history

In The Loop
December 18, 2018 - 10:09 am

© Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

By John P. Lopez

Andre Johnson has been caught. And passed.

The mere suggestion of such a thing has been a fool’s errand ever since the future Hall of Famer first flashed his blazing speed and incredible talent on a Texans’ practice field in 2003.

Nobody catches Andre Johnson, right? Or so we thought.

But with Deandre Hopkins establishing himself as the game’s best wide receiver, so, too, is it becoming clear that Hopkins has done the once-unthinkable. Not only has he tugged on his mentor’s cape, he’s donned it.

It has become clear that, while Hopkins has a way to go in terms of longevity, in every other way he has surpassed the great Andre Johnson as the best receiver in Texans history.

The proverbial eye test can be deceptive. Some might see the recent dominance Hopkins has flashed – his toe-tapping greatness or mind-boggling ball skills – and proclaim him the best in franchise history. Others might caution, don’t forget similarly remarkable grabs and ungodly after-catch skills and say, not so fast.

But numbers rarely lie. And the comparisons between Hopkins in the prime of his career and Johnson in his clearly seem to favor Hopkins.

Through 93 career games, Hopkins has done more than Johnson by a smidge.

Hopkins has 507-catches, 7,186-yards, 47-touchdowns and has averaged 14.17 yards per catch. The only category among those in which Johnson had the edge through 93 games is catches, with 524. Otherwise, Johnson had fewer yards (7,013), touchdowns (37) and a 13.38 yards-per-catch average.

Further, while Johnson certainly had quarterback issues at various times during his Texans career, for the most part he worked with just two quarterbacks – Matt Schaub and David Carr. Three times during Johnson’s career, Schaub passed for more than 4,000-yards.

Hopkins, meanwhile, has worked with six different starting quarterbacks through his first six seasons. And not one has passed for more than 4,000-yards in a season – though Deshaun Watson is on pace this year.

Despite that, with Hopkins’ 170-yard, two-touchdown effort Saturday against the Jets, it marked the seventh time Hopkins surpassed more than 150-yards receiving in a game. Through his first 93-games, Johnson surpassed 150-yards five times.

Who knew, when Hopkins spent his first couple seasons learning from Johnson that the student would catch him? And pass him.