Seahawks can’t stop Johnson

HOUSTON — There was little secret heading into Sunday’s game which player posed the biggest threat to the Seattle Seahawks defense.

Houston’s Andre Johnson is one of the league’s best wide receivers, he plays in a pass-happy offense, and the Texans just lost their staring running back for the season.

But making Johnson priority No. 1 for the Seahawks defense didn’t make stopping him any easier.

The Pro Bowl receiver ran by Seahawks cornerback Marcus Trufant as he caught a 64-yard touchdown pass on the game’s first play from scrimmage, and the blowout was on from there.

“It was big for us to come out and start the way we did,” said Texans quarterback Matt Schaub, who connected with Johnson 11 times for 193 yards and two touchdowns. “The big play to Andre really set the tone for the game. That got us off to a good start offensively and that gave the defense a lot of emotion and adrenaline to play.”

Trufant was beaten by Johnson on both touchdowns (the second on a 17-yard scoring pass), continuing the struggles for the Seahawks corner since returning from a back injury that forced him to miss the first six games of the season.

Trufant didn’t blame his health for his struggles this season — he has been flagged for eight defensive penalties in seven games — simply saying Johnson got the better of him.

“I’m as healthy as I can be. I would say, yeah, I’m fully healthy,” he said. “I’m trying to get it done. Certainly there are plays I’m not making, but I’m still fighting to get better… . He (Johnson) played good. He made big plays, that’s the kind of player he is. And I didn’t play one of my best games, I’ll be the first one to say that.

Seahawks coach Jim Mora, however, wondered if Trufant is still struggling to re-discover his old form since coming back.

“I don’t see him at 100 percent, top-end speed right now,” Mora said. “I don’t see that long speed that’s made Tru such a good player. It’s got to be residual. He hasn’t lost it, it didn’t go away. He’s the same guy, he works the same way, so it’s got to be something that’s triggering that.”

Whatever the cause, the result of Trufant and the defense’s struggles was a huge day for Johnson and Schaub, who passed for 336 yards in the first half.

“That’s an understatement,” Mora said when asked if his team didn’t handle Johnson well. “In the first half he tore us up, starting with the first play. We were playing quarters coverage and he just ran right by our guy. We rolled up on him and they threw it elsewhere. If we put him in single he won. He’s an outstanding player. Schaub is doing a tremendous job getting the ball to him and they are protecting him. We’ve just got to do better.”

Herald Writer John Boyle: For more Seahawks coverage, check out the Seahawks blog at

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