Andre Johnson's Talent Is Being Wasted as Texans Continue to Flounder

Ryan Cook@@RyanCook13Contributor IDecember 6, 2013

JACKSONVILLE, FL - DECEMBER 05:   Andre Johnson #80 of the Houston Texans points during the game against the Jacksonville Jaguars at EverBank Field on December 5, 2013 in Jacksonville, Florida.  (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)
Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

Somewhere, Andre Johnson is questioning what more he has to do. 

In another dismal effort against an opponent that should be a gimme, the Houston Texans were swept by the Jacksonville Jaguars on Thursday night, putting forward a performance that has probably landed them the number one draft spot come May. 

The game had everything: interceptions, another swap between Case Keenum and Matt Schaub and a total of 17 penalties to derail any chance of a Houston comeback. 

Right next to that mess was Andre Johnson's 154-yard performance, a mere footnote thanks to every other storyline the Texans have been able to produce this season. 

But believe it or not, Thursday night's game marked the 50th time Johnson has put forward a 100-plus yard performance in his career. He also tied some guy named Jerry Rice for the most games with at least 10 catches and 150 yards (10). 

For most guys, a night like that would earn you the game ball and a feel good moment with your teammates. For Johnson, though, seeing his team slip to 2-11 on the season probably puts a damper on any celebration. 

As much as Johnson has earned himself a trip to the Pro Bowl later this year, the bigger story was told earlier this season in another heartbreaking loss at home to the Oakland Raiders.

Again, Schaub was the culprit when trying to target Johnson in the end zone with the game on the line, as Gary Kubiak dialed up a play that we'd all seen a thousand times. What followed was an exchange of words with Schaub which Johnson later explained was in "the heat of the moment" according to CSN Houston's Dave Zangaro.

Then, there was a comment on his contract situation that shouldn't give Texans fans much hope about his future being in Houston, reported by Tania Ganguli. And of course, the aftermath of Thursday night's loss.

Johnson has every right to feel frustrated, though. Clearly, there's something wrong in Houston. Whether it's the coaching staff, underperforming players or a general discontent between the two, something is off, and it's obvious from Johnson's behavior. 

Throughout the year Johnson has been the target of plenty of passes. During the Schaub stretch of the season, Johnson was held without a touchdown, a similar theme to last season. Then came Keenum, who was more productive getting the ball to the big wide receiver in the end zone. 

But where Johnson should feel frustrated, is with the play-calling. Schaub's lousy interception to Geno Hayes was more than just a bad read. It was a desperation pass to the only Texan receiver who has been trustworthy this season, yet he was swarming with Jaguar defenders. 

Rewind a few minutes prior, and the same issue occurs. On fourth down inside the Jaguars 20-yard line, Schaub threw a pass late toward a double-covered Johnson when, really, Johnson was open five seconds earlier. But the pass never came. 

JACKSONVILLE, FL - DECEMBER 05:   Geno Hayes #55 of the Jacksonville Jaguars attempts to tackle  Andre Johnson #80 of the Houston Texans during the game at EverBank Field on December 5, 2013 in Jacksonville, Florida.  (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)
Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

I guess you can't blame the Texans for targeting Johnson often, especially after the number of drops the rest of the receiving corps has had. At 32 years old, Johnson already has 1,277 yards on his stat sheet, and when the Texans do decide to send him on fade routes or simple deep routes over the middle, he's close to impossible to stop in man coverage. 

Take a look back at Week 13, and the Texans actually made all of that look simple. Play-action fakes from Keenum easily fooled the New England Patriots defense, and Johnson was often open down the right-hand side. He finished with 121 yards receiving.

So what it boils down to is play-calling and, of course, quarterback play. Schaub couldn't find Johnson at all; Keenum perhaps targets him too much. 

The need to draft a quarterback is as plain as day, even if it's in the second or third round. And if it's not to save the team from misery, it should be to keep Johnson around for a few more years, because sooner or later, a player like him wants a ring.

As pathetic as this season has been for a team that was supposed to maintain control the AFC South, Houston needs to make Johnson's needs a top priority this offseason.