Johnson looking for new level to help Houston

Andre Johnson told a teammate two weeks ago that his goal was to

play the five best games of his career to help end Houston’s season

on a high note.

He came just shy of a career high last week against Seattle and

has 292 yards receiving and three touchdowns since his

declaration.

Now, the NFL’s leading receiver gets to face the lowly Rams

(1-12) as the Texans (6-7) look for their second straight win.

“You just try to make the best of your opportunities,” Johnson

said. “I was given a lot of opportunities on Sunday and I was able

to make a lot of plays to help the team win the game. But I’m just

going to do the same thing. I have the same mentality and I’m just

going to go out and give everything I’ve got for my teammates and

the coaches.”

Johnson has 1,237 yards receiving and eight touchdowns this

season and with three games left, outdoing the career-high 1,575

yards he gained last season is well within reach. He said a new

personal high is not his focus.

“I never set any goals for myself this season, my biggest thing

was just trying to get this organization to its first playoff

berth,” he said. “That’s all I’m worried about and that’s

something I’m going to continue to worry about until it

happens.”

Johnson is averaging a career-best 15.3 yards a catch and needs

just one touchdown to set a career high.

He had 184 of his 193 yards receiving against the Seahawks by

halftime. With the game in hand by the third quarter, Houston ran

the ball to eat up the clock. But with Johnson needing just two

receptions and 15 yards to set career highs in receptions (12) and

yards receiving (207), the Texans threw two passes his way in the

fourth quarter. They both fell incomplete.

“He’s a very unselfish kid. I’ve been in this league a long

time and I know a lot of players that would have been screaming for

me to find a way to get them two more catches and 15 more yards,”

coach Gary Kubiak said. “When I told him I wanted to do that, he

told me it wasn’t important so that tells you what he’s all

about.”

Johnson didn’t care if he caught any more passes once the game

was decided, but he was impressed that Kubiak wanted to give him a

chance to set career marks.

He isn’t worried about getting 11 catches again this week, but

he does think starting fast again is the key to success. He caught

a 64-yard touchdown pass on the first play against Seattle.

“If you could have been on the sideline, the energy level of

the team was just up so high and guys feed off that,” he said.

“When something like that happens everybody wants to go out and do

something that catches somebody’s eye.”

Houston is hoping to take advantage of the one-win Rams to get

back to .500 and keep their slim playoff hopes alive. They know

better than overlooking the Rams after a struggling Oakland team

beat them 27-16 late last season.

The Texans were 7-7 entering that game and the Raiders were

3-11. The Texans have been reminded of that stinging loss this

week.

“You can’t look past anybody,” Johnson said. “You still have

to go out and do what you have to do and execute. If you don’t go

out there and do that you’re going to end up on the losing end and

that’s something that we don’t want to happen.”