Andre’s Giant Touchdown

From Reliant Stadium, Houston

Andre Johnson said there was no doubt in the huddle of the Houston Texans that they were going down the field to score the winning touchdown.

“We were confident, we felt good about the position we were in,” Johnson said. “We’ve been there before. We expected it to all come together.”

And it did. On a 2nd-and-8 play from the Chiefs 11-yard line, 36 seconds left and Houston trailing by three points, something had to get done and get done quickly. The Texans knew that. They Chiefs knew it as well. They were prepared to stop the proceedings.

But just as they had done throughout the second half, the Chiefs were one step slow and one step behind. Johnson caught the 11-yard scoring pass from QB Matt Schaub and the Texans won the game, 35-31. That’s him above, after jumping into the end zone stands after the catch.

In the first half, they had limited Houston to a single touchdown and 115 yards of offense on 22 snaps.

It all fell apart in the second half, when the Chiefs defense gave up four touchdowns and 306 offensive yards in 35 plays to the Texans.

“You have to close the game out,” said CB Brandon Flowers. “The defense was playing lights out up to this game today. We have to go to the film and see the mistakes we made so we won’t make them again.”

They certainly needed that to happen in the final seven minutes of the game. After RB Thomas Jones scored, the Chiefs had a 10-point lead again, the second time they had that advantage, after earlier having a 14-point edge to start the second half.

In those seven minutes, Houston would put up 166 yards on 17 plays with two touchdowns. What little control the Chiefs thought they might have in the game disappeared in drips and drabs as Schaub took his team down the field twice for scores.

“They capitalized off our mistakes,” said ILB Derrick Johnson, who led the Chiefs with nine total tackles. “My hat’s off to them. They did a good job on offense. We have to play better on defense and execute.”

The deciding play saw Johnson line up on the left side formation. The Chiefs defense had him bracketed in coverage because they knew that Johnson was going to be the first receiver that Schaub looked for on the play. He always is.

So SS Eric Berry and S Jon McGraw had the duties. If Johnson went inside, then Berry said he was to take him. If he went outside, then it was McGraw’s man. Schaub took the snap and he was flushed out of the pocket to his left by some pass rush pressure. He moves that way and then fired to the back left corner of the end zone.

“He came inside and then he went outside and we didn’t execute the way we need to do,” said Berry. “We should have been able to contest the throw.”

Johnson said after the game the play and his catch were all part of the everyday life of one of the league’s best receivers.

“Once I saw him (Schaub) moving, I was just trying to find someplace where I could get open,” Johnson said. “I got to the back of the end zone and the cornerback (Brandon Carr) had gone outside with Owen (Daniels). It left everything back there open.”

Schaub says it wasn’t that simple and the fact that Johnson made it look easy was just another example of his greatness.

“First, he’s playing with an injured ankle and he’s not 100 percent,” Schaub said of Johnson. “Then, he gets himself to an open area. He’s back there and he has to make sure he doesn’t step out of bounds and when the ball is coming he has to make sure he catches it and gets his feet down. He’s back there and defensive players are all around him.

“It’s not that easy.”

It certainly won’t be easy for the Chiefs to forget. The play gave them what is now a two-game losing streak.

“I can’t tell you specifically what happened but all around on defense, we need to play better,” said Derrick Johnson. “We would have won this game if we (defense) played better.”

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