The Houston Texans were determined to take wide receiver Julio Jones out of the Falcons’ offense.
That was just fine with Leonard Hankerson.
The Texans bracketed the dynamic Jones with two players and cheated to his side of the field, which created room for Hankerson to do some damage.
Hankerson caught six of his eight targets for 103 yards and a touchdown.
“We are kind of hot as an offense,” Hankerson said. “The defense is out there making plays.”
With all of the extra attention, Jones was held to four catches for 38 yards. He entered the game with 34 catches for 440 yards and four touchdowns.
“I was able to make some plays to keep it going,” Hankerson said.
The Falcons believe that they made a statement by blasting out to a 42-0 lead, before the reserves were outscored 21-6 in the fourth quarter.
“We have a pretty good team here,” Hankerson said. “We are legitimate. If we keep working, we’re going to be happy with where we are.”
Jones didn’t mind the extra attention.
“They kept leaving the middle of the field vacate and we made them pay,” Jones said. “I was just being a team player today. Yards and touchdowns don’t matter. If we win, that’s the main goal for the team.”
Hankerson busted free on a slant pattern and darted down the middle of the field for a 55-yard gain in the third quarter.
“They were just trying to bracket me early on,” Jones said. “The safety was out of the middle of the field. The middle of the field is vacant and they were cheating to my side. Everybody else was trying to man up.
Hankerson just tried to make the Texans pay.
“We have a lot of play makers,” Hankerson said. “We have a lot of guys who can do a lot of different things. Myself, Roddy (White) and Julio…We have players, who can play all over the place.”
White, who had caught a pass in the past two games, managed two catches for 8 yards.
Hankerson was signed in the offseason after starting his career in Washington. It was just the second 100-yard receiving game of his career. As a rookie with the Redskins he had 106 yards receivng in a 20-9 loss to Miami on Nov. 13, 2011.
“Everybody just had a mindset to go in and do what we can do,” Hankerson said. “Everybody is playing and competing with each other. We are trying to win. We don’t know where the ball is going to go or who’s going to get the ball. We are just going out there playing our tails off.”
Hankerson was trying to score on his big 55-yarder.
“It was like man coverage or something like that,” Hankerson said. “We made a great play call. I was able to get the ball and run with it a little bit.”
It feels good. That’s what we work at each and every day. We have a lot of good players on this team. We prepare the right way. We just have to keep it going.