Andre Johnson ranks ninth in NFL history in career receptions and twelfth in career receiving yards, compiling a resume that will be considered one day for the Hall of Fame. Making it even more impressive is the fact that Johnson has played with sub-par quarterbacks for most of his career with the Houston Texans. Now, he's with the best quarterback he's ever played with in the most dangerous offense that he's ever played in, yet Johnson hasn't even resembled a threat through three games this season.
In the first three games, Johnson has been thrown at 18 times, catching seven passes for 51 yards (7.3 yards per attempt) for four first downs. Furthermore, according to Pro Football Focus, Andrew Luck has been picked off three times when throwing Johnson's way (out of his seven picks this year). That means that, when Luck throws Johnson's way, he has a passer rating of just 57.4. Last week, Johnson was targeted only one time "officially" (though he had a 37-yard catch and run wiped out due to penalty), and that was a drop.
Johnson has had a very minimal impact on the Colts' offense. Through the first three games, Johnson is on pace for a 37-catch, 272-yard season. That's not saying he won't improve on those numbers, but so far, his impact has been almost nonexistent. During the fourth quarter on Sunday, as the Colts' offense exploded for 21 points and 178 yards on three drives (averaging 9.9 yards per play!), Johnson wasn't targeted a single time. T.Y. Hilton, Donte Moncrief, Phillip Dorsett, Coby Fleener, Jack Doyle, and Frank Gore all had receptions in the fourth quarter for the Colts, but Johnson wasn't even thrown at. That pretty much says everything you need to know about Johnson's first three games with the Colts - but he's not getting discouraged yet. He signed with the Colts to win, not to put up incredible individual numbers.
"In coming to this team, I knew that we had a lot of guys here that can make plays," Johnson said on Monday. "You just have to wait your time. Your time will come. I've had my fair share of being the No. 1 guy, catching eight or nine balls a game and stuff like that. I've experienced that for a long time in my career. My biggest reason for coming here was to come in and help as much as I can to win games. What's required of me in the first few games, it hasn't been what it's been most of my career. That's part of it. I'm not upset. I'm here to win. I don't play fantasy football (laughing). I'm just here to help win and help this team get to the next level."
Johnson noted that his chemistry with Luck is still a work in progress. "A lot of people don't realize how hard that is to try to build being your first time in a new place," he said. "It takes a lot of work. It takes time for a guy to feel very comfortable to make that relationship very comfortable. It's something we work on every day."
While Johnson and Luck continue working on things, the receiver is just happy to help in whatever way he can. After Donte Moncrief caught an 11-yard touchdown on a fade route on Sunday to take the lead, Johnson was pumped. "I jumped like I caught it."
Ultimately, it's a work in progress for the veteran receiver, and it hasn't been a great start to his time with the Indianapolis Colts yet. But while he is working to get better individually, he knew that he might not be the focal point of the offense, and that was perfectly fine with him - because, again, winning is his goal. "I knew coming here that this was possible," Johnson said of his low numbers. "I don't have a problem with it. You just be patient. Your time will come. Like I said, we have a lot of guys here that can make plays. Those guys are going out and making some great plays for us thus far. We just look forward to trying to keep it going."