DeAndre Hopkins is a damn marvel that only penalties can stop — at least temporarily, anyways.
On Thursday night, Hopkins exploded for six catches, 82 yards, and two touchdowns during the Texans’ dominant win over the Dolphins that pushed their winning run to five games. But in the process, Hopkins saw his best catch of the night — and arguably the best catch of the entire season — wiped away by offsetting penalties. One of those penalties went against Hopkins, who got dinged for offensive pass interference.
It didn’t look like offensive pass interference. It looked like the catch of the year.
Let’s admire that one more time.
After the game, once Hopkins had a chance to watch the catch for himself, he rightfully demanded an apology.
“I replayed it a whole bunch of times to see if I pushed off,” Hopkins said, via Fox 26’s Mark Berman. “I’m an honest judge. It was hand battling. The guy had two hands. He was off balance. So I think somebody owes me an apology. I don’t know who it is, but somebody owes me an apology.”
The good news for Hopkins is that the negated catch didn’t really have an impact on the game as the Texans coasted to a 42-23 win. He also managed to score two touchdowns, so it’s not like the catch prevented him from enjoying a big night. What’s annoying is that when we’re ready to look back on the season’s best catches, a non-existent push off will be what prevents Hopkins’ catch from entering the conversation.
That being said, Hopkins’ catch and his big outing should provide a reminder that he’s in the best receiver conversation alongside the likes of Antonio Brown, Julio Jones, Odell Beckham, and Adam Thielen (yes, Thielen suddenly belongs in the debate). Since entering the league in 2013, Hopkins ranks sixth in receptions, fourth in receiving yards, and seventh in touchdown catches. Keep in mind, before Deshaun Watson arrived last season, Hopkins was catching passes from quarterbacks like Brock Osweiler, Ryan Mallett, Brian Hoyer, and Ryan Fitzpatrick (among others). Despite inconsistencies around him, he’s managed to remain productive while coming down with catches that measure up to the one above.
If the Texans are going to journey back to the playoffs, they’ll need Hopkins at his best — especially now that WR2 Will Fuller is reportedly expected to miss the remainder of the season with a torn ACL.
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