Stopping Andre Johnson again not easy

December, 3, 2013
12/03/13
6:20
PM ET
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Houston receiver Andre Johnson is third in the NFL with 82 receptions.

The Jaguars are only responsible for two.

Johnson managed just two catches for 36 yards in the Jaguars' 13-6 victory over the Texans in Houston on Nov. 24. That success, however, doesn't mean anything when the teams meet again on Thursday night at EverBank Field.

"You definitely throw it out," cornerback Dwayne Gratz said. "You feel good about it for a little bit but it's a new game. He has more chances to go out there and make plays, so we've still got to do our job."

The Jaguars limited Johnson by making sure they knew where he was at all times. They play almost exclusively man coverage and cornerback Alan Ball drew Johnson most of the game. He was rarely alone, though. He had safety help over the top and a player without coverage responsibilities sliding over to help on shorter routes.

Another factor was the pass rush. The Jaguars got good pressure on Case Keenum, sacking him twice and hitting him five other times. They also broke up nine passes, including a big hit on Johnson by safety Winston Guy.

All Johnson could manage was a 15-yard catch on third-and-6 early in the third quarter and a 21-yarder on third-and-4 on the Texans' final drive.

"I think the first meeting they came in and had a great plan defensively and they did a great job of executing," Johnson said. "You have to give them credit. … I think when we played them last time we never got into rhythm as an offense."

Ball said the Jaguars will change some of the things they did in coverage because it would be foolish to expect the same things to work again. The Texans will obviously make adjustments to get Johnson more involved, too, like he was against New England last Sunday when he caught eight passes for 121yards.

But the thing that will stay the same is making the linebackers and defensive backs know where Johnson is at every moment.

"We're just going to go out and execute like it's the first time we're playing them and come with a new game plan and new strategy for just trying to limit his touches and limit his effectiveness," Ball said. "We know they're going to try to get him the ball. He's coming off a strong week last week so we expect carryover from that.

"But everybody on the defense has to be aware of where he's at and know how they're trying to attack you with his alignment. I think everybody needs to be on the same page and focused in on that."

Mike DiRocco | email

ESPN Jacksonville Jaguars reporter

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