PASSING THE TORCH

As Texans honor Johnson, his replacement - DeAndre Hopkins - shows he is pretty good, too

As Texans honor Johnson, his replacement - DeAndre Hopkins - shows he is pretty good, too
DeAndre Hopkins is a fitting replacement for Andre Johnson. Houston Texans

The Texans honored their greatest receiver on Sunday by inducting Andre Johnson into the Hall of Honor.

After watching that, their current franchise receiver went out and did his best Johnson impression in the second half. DeAndre Hopkins would finish with four catches for 76 yards and a touchdown in the Texans 31-21 win over the Cardinals.

The Texans moved to 4-6 on the season with the win, ending a three-game losing streak, but even after Sunday’s result, it seems destined to end as many of Johnson’s did.

Hopkins and to a lesser extent Lamar Miller are the last men standing on the offense, as injuries have taken away Deshaun Watson, William Fuller for much of the season and now D’Onta Foreman.

Hopkins is one of the lone bright spots left in what has been a season of disappointment and critical injuries. After Sunday, he has 62 catches for 879 yards and 9 TDs -- matching Johnson’s career high.

In his career, he is closing in on his third 1,000-yard season in five years in the league. He had 802 as a rookie, and 954 last season, when he often played poorly, did not battle for balls and looked lethargic at times.

This season he has been anything but.

He has fought for balls, made amazing catches, played defense when poor passes could have been intercepted. He has been physical -- often getting called for pass interference, but fighting for every inch. He has been a bright spot in what has become a lost season.

It was fitting that Johnson was honored, because Hopkins came to play on Sunday, with another strong effort, this one coming primarily against the Cardinals’ stud corner, Patrick Peterson. It was another highlight game in what is becoming a strong 2017.

Unfortunately, like many of Johnson’s great seasons, it is likely being wasted. But on Sunday, he played a lot like his predecessor.

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Who's really calling the shots? Composite Getty Image.

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Also, could Espada be sending a message to the front office by giving them a good look at how bad he is, and how much he's hurting the team with regular playing time?

ESPN Houston's Jeremy Branham makes that case in the video above, but his radio partner Joel Blank isn't quite buying it.

Don't miss the video above for the full conversation!

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