DeAndre Hopkins on non-catch: I'm going to count it
Houston Texans wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins produced the NFL’s Catch of the Year in Thursday night’s 42-23 win over the Miami Dolphins.
Well, that is until it wasn’t officially a catch.
With the Texans facing a third-and-8 at the 7:37 mark of the third quarter, quarterback Deshaun Watson unleashed a deep pass down the left sideline to Hopkins, who made an incredible leaping one-handed grab with his left hand. As he fell to the ground, Hopkins reached between his legs with his right hand to pin the ball against the back of his left leg to secure the ball.
Unfortunately, the officials flagged Hopkins for offensive pass interference, which erased one of the most jaw-dropping catches of recent memory from the box score.
Hopkins later bemoaned the play while appearing on the NFL Network’s postgame show.
"That wasn’t pass interference there," Hopkins said. "I think I amazed myself on that one. I definitely amazed myself on that one. I’m going to count that catch. That’s a catch in my book."
While the play didn’t count, the eye-popping unofficial catch prompted an eruption of appreciation on social media and stunned disbelief in the FOX Sports broadcast booth.
"Oh my God," play-by-play commentator Joe Buck exclaimed on the play.
"I mean, how good is that?" color analyst and Hall of Famer Troy Aikman asked.
Hopkins’ teammates also raved about Hopkins’ play after the game.
"One of the best catches I’ve ever seen," Watson said. "Catching it one-handed, coming through his legs. I didn’t think it was offensive pass interference. The guy was holding him. He just stuck his hand out. It was a bad call on my part but at the end of the day, he did a heck of a job pulling it in. I mean, that’s what he does."
Texans defensive end J.J. Watt echoed Watson.
"That was incredible," Watt said. "I mean, it’s unbelievable. He has the best hands in the league. He does something like that all the time. He’s incredible. He deserves every ounce of credit he gets. And he’s possibly the top receiver in the league."
Watt’s last statement has merit, of course, as Hopkins was selected as a first-team All Pro in 2017 and has made two Pro Bowls on his career for a reason.
The sixth-year pro currently leads the Texans in receiving with 53 catches for 789 yards and six touchdowns on 78 targets through eight games, putting him on pace to easily produce his fourth career 1,000-yard receiving season.
And with a play like he produced against the Dolphins, Hopkins, who finished Thursday night with six catches for 82 yards and two touchdowns, showed yet again why he can be unstoppable against any coverage.
"One-on-one, I feel like I can’t be covered, man," Hopkins said. "I feel like if they put the ball in the air, it’s my ball. It’s either a PI or it’s my ball."
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