Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Franchise receiver, rookies key Texans

Rookie DE J.J. Watt celebrates his 29-yard interception return for a score that puts Houston up 17-10 with 52 seconds left in the first half: “I just ran to the end zone trying not to fall down.”

Associated Press

Rookie DE J.J. Watt celebrates his 29-yard interception return for a score that puts Houston up 17-10 with 52 seconds left in the first half: “I just ran to the end zone trying not to fall down.”

HOUSTON — Andre Johnson hugged his coach at the end of Houston's first playoff game, a decade in the making.

"This is something not just for me but for the whole organization," the receiver said. "It's special for me because I said on the day I was drafted here (in 2003) that I wanted to be a part of that."

Johnson, the face of the 10-year-old franchise, caught a 40-yard touchdown pass that helped Houston beat Cincinnati 31-10 in Saturday's AFC wild-card game at Reliant Stadium.

"It's a very special feeling," he said. "That's probably the most I've smiled in a long time."

Johnson had plenty of help, including from rookies J.J. Watt and T.J. Yates.

"I'm just very proud of all the guys and the job they did," coach Gary Kubiak said.

Houston used six draft picks on defense in April. The first was Watt, an end, at No. 11 overall. He started all 16 regular-season games and led the team with 13 tackles for loss. But he hadn't picked off a pass until Saturday.

With the score tied at 10 in the final minute of the first half, Watt measured his jump when Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton dropped back and snatched the ball. He then sprinted 29 yards to the end zone.

"I was really just trying to put my hands up and get in the way of the passing lane," said Watt, who said he works on plays such as that during practices. "I realized I had the ball, so I just ran to the end zone trying not to fall down."

Houston's defense, ranked No. 1 for most of the season and which finished second, had its best game in several weeks, with four sacks and four turnovers. "We got back to our type of football," Kubiak said.

Up 17-10 late in the third, Yates, a fifth-round pick pressed into action after injuries to quarterbacks Matt Schaub and Matt Leinart, caught a break when safety Chris Crocker dropped an interception. ("It was a touchdown if I would have caught it," Crocker said.) Three plays later, Yates hit Johnson, who had broken free from cornerback Adam "Pacman" Jones, for a touchdown.

Dalton threw interceptions on the Bengals' next two series. Then Arian Foster, who ran for 153 yards and two touchdowns, scored on a 42-yarder to keep Cincinnati winless in its three playoff appearances since its last victory in January 1991.

Said Bengals coach Marvin Lewis: "I'm disappointed that I wasn't able to put us in position to win the football game and get us over the hump."


Franchise receiver, rookies key Texans 01/07/12 [Last modified: Friday, January 13, 2012 10:16pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. A buzz-worthy look at the Astros-Dodgers World Series matchup

    The Heater

    Houston Astros' Yuli Gurriel is congratulated by Jose Altuve after scoring during the fifth inning of Game 7 of baseball's American League Championship Series against the New York Yankees Saturday, Oct. 21, 2017, in Houston. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip) TXMG170
  2. Florida, FSU try to ignore death threats, angry fans


    GAINESVILLE — Frustration over uncharacteristically down seasons at Florida and Florida State has started to spill over from message boards and start crossing real-world lines.

    Fans watch the Florida Gators game against Texas A&M, at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium, in Gainesville, Fla. At the half, Florida was up 10 to 3.
  3. Fennelly: Would you take Jameis Winston over Cam Newton?


    Factoring out futures, it wouldn't be a short list if I picked NFL quarterbacks I'd take right now over Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston.

    Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston (3) calls a play during the first half of Sunday's game. [LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times]
  4. Bucs Cannon Fodder podcast: What went wrong on defense?


    Greg Auman is back from Buffalo, going back over a difficult finish and tough loss for the Bucs, in his latest Cannon Fodder podcast.

    Buffalo Bills tight end Logan Thomas (82) makes a touchdown catch over Bucs defensive back T.J. Ward (43) during the second half. [LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times]
  5. Jim McElwain: Florida Gators have received death threats after 3-3 start


    GAINESVILLE - The Florida Gators' 3-3 start is causing some fans to become irrational - even by college football standards.

    UF coach Jim McElwain said there have been death threats made against people related to his program.