Andre Johnson is no spin doctor. The Houston Texans game-changing wide receiver isn't interested in making everybody feel good and he's always firmly grounded in reality.
When the New England Patriots rolled over Johnson's Texans 42-14 on Monday Night Football, he called it what it was: "An ass whipping." And then he spent the rest of the week telling everyone that the 11-2 Texans would be "fine."
Then, he went about making them fine. With Andre Johnson dominating the first quarter like few NFL receivers can, the Texans jumped out to a 10-0 lead over the Indianapolis Colts, knowing that a win would let them celebrate a second straight AFC South title in front of their fans.
Despite not getting a chance to make a catch until last Monday night in New England, Posey's heard Johnson in his ear all season.
Wade Phillips' Bulls On Parade defense would kick in from there, but Johnson set the tone first.
The Texans went to Johnson on the first two offensive plays of the game and were rewarded with a 9-yard gain and a 52-yard, perfectly-executed, play-fake completion in which Johnson went up high and out battled Colts cornerback Vontae Davis for the football.
As the crowd roared and Johnson popped up, the Colts had an idea of just what they were in for on this day.
The drive stalled and ended with a field goal. No matter. No. 80 would make sure the Texans finished the next time they touched the football.
With Houston once again finding the going tough near the goal line, Houston coach Gary Kubiak called an ingenious little play that had Johnson slanting inside quick as others went out wide. Easy decision. Easy throw. Easy touchdown.
The Texans suddenly led 10-0. Johnson had four catches for 74 yards in two offensive possessions. This wasn't a throwback game as much as Johnson's standard game. As he's shown throughout this 1,200-plus yard season, No. 80 makes the plays whenever he's given the opportunity.
He'd finish the first half with 107 yards on seven catches, accounting for half of quarterback Matt Schaub's completions. That's a good day for many wideouts. Even many good wideouts.
Johnson wasn't finished though. He'd pass 11,000 yards receiving for his career, doing it in the same season in which he passed 10,000 yards — a testament to just how good this 31-year-old's season has been. Only Jerry Rice and Torry Holt have reached 11,000 career receiving yards faster than Johnson in NFL history.
His final line for the AFC South clincher? Eleven catches for 151 yards.
Johnson's influence also could be felt when rookie receiver DeVier Posey made a tough 36-yard catch down the middle and held onto the ball despite a cheap shot, penalized hit from Colts cornerback Cassius Vaughn. Despite not getting a chance to make a catch until last Monday night in New England, Posey's heard Johnson in his ear all season.
No. 80's been urging Posey to be ready for his chance, passing along subtle tips.
"I get a kick out of helping the younger guys as much as I can," Johnson told CultureMap earlier this season. "I want to see what they turn into."
Johnson will give plenty of pushes along the way, grabbing games before they can even think of getting away.