DeAndre Hopkins has been tasked with catching passes from a number of mediocre-at-best quarterbacks this season, but has still managed to shine in nearly every game.
T.J. Yates started in Monday’s game against the Steelers (although he exited the game to be evaluated for a concussion late in the second quarter, and was replaced by Taylor Heinicke, who ended up playing only nine snaps before Yates returned), which made Hopkins’ job a bit difficult. To make matters worse, he was also matched up against All-Pro cornerback Joe Haden.
Hopkins was held to only one catch for 38 yards through three quarters of play, but apparently saved his best efforts for late in the Christmas Day game, when he hauled in arguably the best catch of the 2017 season so far.
The Texans were faced with a first-and-goal situation from the three-yard line, and they, of course, looked to their playmaker. Yates floated a pass that was thrown to the wrong side of Hopkins, but the Texans receiver calmly tipped the ball to himself using his right hand, and then hauled it in with his left. Hopkins somehow also managed to drag both toes in bounds, and completed one of the most difficult catches we’ve ever seen.
It was so great that ESPN broadcaster Mike Tirico didn’t believe Hopkins made the catch at first glance, but later changed his mind after further review.
The spectacular grab is now being labeled “The Christmas Catch,” which seems appropriate, given the situation and the degree of difficulty.