Houston's Johnson looks to build on best season
HOUSTON (AP) — Houston's Andre Johnson heard the whispers he'd lost a step and that he'd never again be an elite receiver as he struggled through the worst season of his career in 2011.
He didn't let it get him down.
Johnson used it as motivation, and bounced back from last year's 492-yard season with a career-high 1,598 yards receiving this season.
Now he's looking to do more as the Texans prepare for Saturday's playoff game against the Bengals.
His performance this season has left him with Jerry Rice and Marvin Harrison as the only players in NFL history with at least three seasons with 1,500 yards receiving. He also reached the mark in 2008 and 2009.
Johnson has 112 catches this season for his fourth career 100-catch year and his most since finishing with 115 catches in 2008. He was recently selected to his sixth Pro Bowl and has more than 11,000 yards receiving in his career.
Coach Gary Kubiak calls Johnson's season "amazing", and loves the way he leads the Texans by example with his hard work and positive attitude.
"I've been fortunate to be around some special players, but I really count my blessings with this one," Kubiak said. "He's a heck of a player, but a great kid, too."
Johnson has had success against Cincinnati, and is averaging 122.7 yards receiving in his past three games against the Bengals.
He's disappointed that the team has struggled recently, losing three of its past four games. But he believes they'll turn things around on Saturday.
"We just haven't been playing football the way that we know how to play it," Johnson said. "We just have to get back to what we have done earlier during the season. Find that same kind of focus and everybody just lock into what they're doing and just go play football the way we know how to play it."
Johnson got off to a slow start this season after being hampered by minor injuries in training camp. But he has been on a roll in the past seven games, piling up 1,001 yards. Johnson has six 100-yard games this season, including a career-best 273 yards receiving in a win over the Jaguars.
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