A week after he hauled in 229 yards, Johnson was limited to five catches for just 37 yards as Arizona handed Houston its seventh straight loss. But Johnson showed, much to the chagrin of Peterson, that he doesn’t need to put up splashy numbers to impact a game.
All he needs, actually, are a few inches. Well, maybe a foot. That’s how much space -- combined -- that Johnson had to complete both touchdown catches.
The first was a seven-yard pass from quarterback Case Keenum on a busted play, according to Peterson, that gave Johnson just about an inch or two to drag his back foot. He stuck the landing and the score.
The second was a little more acrobatic. Peterson had his left hand completely on the ball but Johnson simply went over him and took the five-yard pass off Peterson’s fingertips to pull Houston within three late in the fourth. Again, Johnson needed to drag his back foot to make the score count, but this time he had about six inches to do it.
“His hand was like over my shoulder, so I knew I had to go up with one hand, and it just barely slipped out of my grasp,” Peterson said. “He made a hell of a catch on both of them. Obviously, I didn’t do enough to make the play. He came down with both touchdowns. Tip my hat off to him.”
As did everyone else.
Houston interim head coach Wade Phillips said Johnson will be in the Hall of Fame one day. Before the game, safety Ed Reed told Johnson to “just go out there and get a score, make some plays.”
In just his third game as Houston’s quarterback, Keenum had a hard time containing his excitement about Johnson’s highlight-worthy catches.
“Those were two of the best catches I’ve ever seen in my life,” Keenum said. “Those were incredible. I can’t even describe it. You have to watch it to see how awesome those catches are.”
Peterson was proud of holding Johnson to 37 yards, because Johnson makes the “big bucks” as Peterson aspires to do. But to Johnson, Sunday was just another day at the office.
Though the replay booth was busy on both of Johnson’s touchdowns, he didn’t think twice about them.
“I knew my feet were in,” Johnson said. “That’s something I work on a lot, keeping my feet in bounds when I make catches. I never had any doubt about it.”