San Francisco 49ers cornerback Dontae Johnson had a wretched performance against the Houston Texans. By far the worst game of his career, Johnson gave up nine receptions for 140 yards. He also gave up a touchdown, and committed three penalties.
On two of those penalties, Johnson still allowed the reception. Of course, he was going up against DeAndre Hopkins, an exceptional player. Hopkins had a phenomenal day, and he annihilated Johnson to achieve it. The problem isn’t necessarily that Johnson had a bad game or that he can’t stop a No. 1 receiver like Hopkins ... it’s just how badly he performed.
The 49ers had Johnson a few yards off the line of scrimmage, and it didn’t help. The 49ers had Johnson do press coverage, and it didn’t help. They had him do all manner of things, and he was beaten so badly he couldn’t stop Hopkins even while committing penalties.
Below, we’re going to take at Johnson’s receptions allowed to Hopkins in the first half. The rest came in the third quarter, his worst quarter. We’ll take a look at the third quarter tomorrow.
10:36 in 1st Quarter, 2nd and 10 from SF 41: Savage pass short left to Hopkins for 7 yards
This is the second pass of the game that Johnson allowed, for the record. The first was to Will Fuller, a 7-yard reception. But we’re looking at the Hopkins plays, and the thing you see above is something you’d better get used to. That’s Johnson, about 5 yards off the line of scrimmage and Hopkins easily turning to catch a short gain before Johnson can even think about closing the distance. They’re at the top of the screen, if you didn’t know.
14:14 in 2nd Quarter, 3rd and 15 from HOU 22: Savage pass deep left to Hopkins for 22 yards
Johnson and Hopkins are at the bottom of the screen. Here, Johnson is trying something different and playing press coverage. But he’s so ineffective at jamming Hopkins, he nearly falls down. Hopkins, by that point, has 5 yards on him, and makes an incredible catch on the sidelines.
2:03 in 2nd Quarter, 2nd and 11 from HOU 24: Yates pass short left to Hopkins for 7 yards
Bottom of the screen: Johnson runs awkwardly ahead of Hopkins, barely able to keep his head turned around without stumbling. He turns his body around completely to try and close on Hopkins, who very easily made the move on Johnson and made, once again, a great sideline catch.
1:06 in 2nd Quarter, 2nd and 3 from SF 32: Yates pass short left to Hopkins for 25 yards (PENALTY on Johnson, defensive holding, declined)
Johnson and Hopkins are on the bottom of the screen and, once again, Johnson can’t even begin to press Hopkins. He tries, and has to resort to defensive holding. On top of that, he falls down, and Hopkins makes the catch anyway, leaving two other defensive backs to clean up the mess and prevent a touchdown.
0:59 in 2nd Quarter, 1st and 7 from SF 7: Yates pass short middle to Hopkins for 7-yards TOUCHDOWN
Here is Johnson providing very soft coverage, likely to prevent Hopkins from hooking to the outside. But he completely fails to track the play, and Yates drops the pass in right over two other 49ers player for the touchdown. Hopkins is basically unimpeded by Johnson at this point.