Hopkins strives for Texans despite quarterback changes
HOUSTON (AP) It didn't matter which quarterback was throwing passes for the Houston Texans this season, DeAndre Hopkins was there to catch them.
In Houston's first season without Andre Johnson, Hopkins was the team's most consistent offensive performer, piling up the third-most yards receiving in the NFL despite the near-constant quarterback changes.
He had at least one 100-yard receiving game with Brian Hoyer, Ryan Mallett, T.J. Yates and Brandon Weeden to become the first player in NFL history to have a 100-yard game with four different quarterbacks in a single season.
''It says a lot about DeAndre,'' coach Bill O'Brien said. ''It says a lot about his ability to work with different quarterbacks. It says a lot about the quarterbacks that they know that he's a guy for us that's been consistent and dependable and a playmaker for us.''
Hopkins will make his playoff debut on Saturday when the AFC South champion Texans return to the postseason for the first time since 2012 when they host the Kansas City Chiefs, winners of 10 straight.
Hopkins, who is in his third season, downplayed the difficulties of navigating between multiple quarterbacks this season and talked about his success despite the QB shuffle.
''Getting extra reps I would say and just being reliable,'' he said. ''They're in the NFL for a reason so that's not an excuse for any wide receiver to say: `I'm not successful' or `I'm doing something wrong' because of the quarterback situation.'''
The 23-year-old finished the regular season with career highs in both receptions (111) and yards receiving (1,521) and set a franchise record with 11 touchdown receptions, which was also a career best.
He's just the third player in NFL history to have 1,400 yards receiving and 11 touchdown receptions in a season at age 23 or younger.
He had six 100-yard receiving games this season and his career average of 14.8 yards per catch is the best in franchise history.
The low-key Hopkins didn't see dealing with so many quarterbacks as a detriment and said he simply had to worry about himself and not be concerned with who was throwing the ball.
''It's really on you as a receiver to make your quarterback right,'' he said. ''No quarterback is going to throw the perfect ball (every time). Every quarterback throws interceptions and throws bad balls. If they give you the chance to make a play I look at it as you have to make that play.''
Hoyer has been the man throwing to Hopkins the most this season, appearing in 11 games with nine starts. He'll start on Saturday after returning last week following a two-week absence after his second concussion in less than a month.
He's been impressed with how Hopkins has been able to succeed no matter what defenses throw at him.
''He's an integral part of our offense, so obviously there's a huge emphasis on trying to get him the ball,'' Hoyer said.
''I think the biggest thing for me that kind of stands out about Hop is with the double teams that we still find ways to get him the ball and he still fights through it. He's been great about that and obviously he's had a great year.''
Hopkins said he never really dreamed of making the playoffs, instead focusing on what he had to do on a daily basis to be the player he wanted to be. In fact, he didn't really watch many playoff games in the past, saying he may have watched a couple last season.
But now that he'll be on a national stage as one of the 12 remaining teams, he's ready to make his mark.
''Legacies are made in the playoffs,'' he said. ''The whole world's watching. Their favorite team isn't playing so they kind of have no choice if they like football.''
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