Hop­kins makes im­pres­sion with big catch

Lethbridge Herald - - HERALD SPORTS - THE AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS — HOUS­TON

DeAn­dre Hop­kins has made a lot of great catches in his time with the Hous­ton Tex­ans, but his lat­est one might be his best.

The 49-yard catch and run that in­cluded two nifty spin moves and set up the win­ning field goal in over­time against Dal­las has in­spired memes and in­ter­net trib­utes.

It also caused a tough night for Buf­falo coach Sean McDer­mott, whose team vis­its Hous­ton on Sun­day.

“I didn’t sleep much (Sun­day) night be­cause of watch­ing that,” he said.

It was the talk of Hous­ton’s locker room this week with ev­ery­one from play­ers to coach­ing rav­ing about the play where he evaded sev­eral would-be tack­lers to help the Tex­ans to their first win over the Cow­boys since 2002.

“It was crazy,” re­ceiver Will Fuller said. “I was right in front of him. I saw the whole thing. I think Hop is the best there is, so just to see that live is just great.”

Hop­kins, who was drafted by the Tex­ans in the first round in 2013, said it was prob­a­bly the best catch of his ca­reer.

“I think so be­cause I set my team up for the win,” he said.

Hous­ton’s de­fend­ers, es­pe­cially the team’s de­fen­sive backs, watched the play with amaze­ment, thank­ful that they aren’t tasked with cov­er­ing the two-time Pro Bowler.

Tex­ans safety Tyrann Mathieu said when a re­ceiver makes moves such as Hop­kins did on that play there’s re­ally no way to de­fend him.

“I don’t think you can stop it,” he said. “At that point it’s just him do­ing him. He’s go­ing in slow mo­tion, ev­ery­thing is just mov­ing slow for him and it’s tough.”

Hop­kins, who signed a five-year, $81 mil­lion ex­ten­sion be­fore last sea­son, loved the videos made about his catch and was par­tic­u­larly amused with one that showed him spin­ning past a bal­le­rina. He said he doesn’t re­ally think about or prac­tice the spin moves, they’re just some­thing that comes nat­u­rally in cer­tain sit­u­a­tions.

“Just in­stinc­tively,” he said.] “All it takes is a glance some­times for you to know where some­one is. Play­ing foot­ball for so long, you kind of an­tic­i­pate the hit like that.”

Coach Bill O’Brien wasn’t as con­cerned about the flashy as­pect of the play as ev­ery­one else, but he was pleased to see him add yards to the catch with such a nice run.

“He’s re­ally worked hard over the last five years ... (on) run­ning af­ter the catch, and he’s re­ally done a good job of that,” O’Brien said.

“I think in the past cou­ple games we’ve had close to 300 yards of yards af­ter catch, and he has a lot of those.”

The play is the high­light of a strong sea­son for Hop­kins, who leads the NFL with 594 yards re­ceiv­ing. He’s had three 100-yard games this year and has sur­passed the 150-yard mark in each of Hous­ton’s past two games.

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