When former Houston Texans head coach and GM Bill O'Brien traded DeAndre Hopkins to the Arizona Cardinals in exchange for David Johnson and a second-round pick, there was immediate pressure placed on Johnson's shoulders to produce at a high level.
After all, O'Brien had just traded one of the three best and most beloved players in franchise history for an oft-injured former fantasy football star.
To say that trade was a disaster would be an understatement, with Hopkins having a monster season alongside Kyler Murray, Johnson struggling to produce, and O'Brien losing his job in part as a result.
Johnson, to his credit, has not performed with a lack of effort. Rather, his offensive line has been inept in the run game for the majority of the season, leaving any of Texans running backs with much room to run from week to week.
Still, one would have expected the former Pro Bowler to make more of an impact, even marginally, than he has been able to so far during the 2020 season.
On Sunday against the Indianapolis Colts, Johnson finally had a breakout game of sorts, though it came mostly through the passing game, totaling 133 total yards of offense, including 11 catches on 11 targets for 106 yards. Johnson also had 27 yards on eight carries.
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While the ground stats weren't overly impressive, Sunday was without a doubt the most involved Johnson had been in the passing game this season, and far more in line with his former role with the Cardinals.
“It felt good being utilized that way and really just helping out the offense, helping out the team, getting momentum, getting everyone in the game," Johnson said. "The best part - it was a tough loss - but it felt good to help out the offense and do everything that I can.''
Was this a result of trailing by double-digits early on in the game? Or could this be a sign of things to come going forward for the Texans' offense?
At this point, it is hard to tell. Either way, however, it is too-little/too-late for Houston, as they now leave Indianapolis with a 4-10 record and a defunct interim coaching staff, heading towards the end of a lost season.