Join Date: Dec 2008
This article on Andre brought tears to my eyes
DENVER — Receiver Andre Johnson stood in the middle of the visiting dressing room at Sports Authority Field trying to analyze how the Texans almost blew a 20-point fourth-quarter lead before escaping with a 31-25 victory over the Denver Broncos.
The Texans were excited to be 3-0 for the first time and the only undefeated team in the AFC. They also knew they should have won a third consecutive game by 20 points, but they allowed their nemesis, quarterback Peyton Manning, to throw two late touchdown passes.
The Texans almost wasted quarterback Matt Schaub’s four touchdown passes and one of the gutsiest performances of his career.
“To get where you want to go, sometimes you have to do things you’ve never done,” Johnson said, sounding like a philosopher.
Like beat Manning on the road for the first time. Like winning your first game at Denver.
Like making a startling admission at crunch time to your quarterback, whose left ear looked as if he’d tangled with Mike Tyson.
“Before our last drive, I went to Matt and told him I was playing like (bleep),” Johnson said. “I told him, ‘Just give me a chance. Don’t give up on me.’
“I know we’re supposed to have short-term memories in this game, but I just couldn’t work through it.”
Schaub, who had absorbed consecutive 15-yard personal-foul calls after Denver linebackers Von Miller and Joe Mays drilled him in the head, looked his receiver in the eye.
“Matt told me, ‘You’ve played way too much football to get down on yourself. I’m coming back to you,’ ” Johnson said.
Between the touchdown and the Texans’ last drive of the game, Johnson wasn’t happy with his performance.
“I left a lot of yards on the field,” he said.
Take the play on which Schaub lost his helmet and a chunk of his ear and was forced to the sideline for one play. He had thrown deep to Johnson, who couldn’t make the catch in the end zone.
Later, Johnson was needed again. With the fans getting hysterical and getting the Broncos pumped up, the Texans needed a first down desperately. They led by six. They faced third-and-five with 2:49 left in the game.
Coach Gary Kubiak called for a pass. Schaub threw a short one to Johnson, who turned it into a 12-yard gain and a first down at the 37. That completion bought them four more downs.
“We lined up in one formation and shifted to another,” Johnson said. “(Cornerback) Champ (Bailey) was playing outside of me. I knew I had an out-breaking route. I started outside and pushed back up and broke out, and Matt gave me a chance.”
And Johnson gave the Texans one of their biggest plays. By the time the Broncos got the ball back at their 14 after Donnie Jones’ 55-yard punt that was fielded at the Denver 1 by receiver Eric Decker, there were 20 seconds left.
“I’ve been through the worst of the worst here,” Johnson said. “This is a lot different. This is the best team we’ve had since I’ve been here (10 seasons).
“Now we’re climbing that mountain. We’re still climbing to get over that hump. I can’t wait to get to the other side.”
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