Posted December 16, 2012

J.J. Watt states his case for Defensive Player of the Year in Texans’ win

Houston Texans, Indianapolis Colts
J.J. Watt has 9 sacks in his last five games. (Dave Einsel/AP)

J.J. Watt has 9 sacks in his last five games. (Dave Einsel/AP)

Is J.J. Watt the NFL’s Defensive Player of the Year? If not, good luck convincing the Indianapolis Colts.

Watt took advantage of a beaten-up Indianapolis offensive line to absolutely terrorize Andrew Luck Sunday, in a 29-17 Texans win that clinched for them the AFC South title. He finished with 10 tackles, three tackles for loss, [si_launchNFLPopup video='91000dd1bf37487ba75e46feec422ba7']three sacks[/si_launchNFLPopup] and a crucial forced fumble, while living in the Indianapolis backfield.

That forced fumble turned out to be one of the game’s biggest plays. With Houston leading 10-0 early in the second quarter, Watt stood up Mewelde Moore on a run from the 1-yard line. The ball popped out of Moore’s grasp and Houston’s Tim Dobbins pounced on it, costing the Colts a shot at seven points.

Watt’s three sacks, meanwhile, moved him to 19.5 for the year, tying him for the league lead with San Francisco’s Aldon Smith (who plays Sunday night). The Texans’ defensive end needs just three sacks over the season’s final two weeks to match Michael Strahan’s single-season sack record of 22.5.

The Colts knew that they faced a tough task Sunday — Watt has torched just about every line he’s faced, and Luck’s team headed into Houston minus starting center Samson Satele and right tackle Winston Justice.

Watt took full advantage, with the division title on the line.

SI.com’s Jim Trotter had Watt in third place for Defensive Player of the Year on his most recent Awards Watch ballot, behind Smith and Von Miller.

You easily could make a case for any of those three, meaning that the DPOY will be just as difficult as MVP, Offensive Player of the Year, Rookie of the Year and Comeback Player of the Year — all of which are being hotly contested by a handful of guys.

It’s hard to ignore what Watt has done in his sensational second year, though. He has been the best defensive player on what is, at least in the standings, the AFC’s best team.

Andrew Luck and the Colts found out just how dominant Watt can be Sunday.

6 comments
David S
David S

Most of the time, a player who leads the league in sacks is a pass rushing specialist. That's what he does. That's about all he does. JJ Watt does everything well. He's just as outstanding against the run as he is against the pass. I think he has sixteen passes deflected, a ton of tackles for losses, etc. A deflected pass is at least as good as a sack because some of those tipped balls become interceptions. Watt is so good that opposing coaches game plan to stop him. He's double teamed on most every play. Despite all that, he still wreaks havoc. 

 

Defensive player of the year? I think he's a lock for that award. The real question is whether he should be league MVP. I would vote for him.

 

dawgnme1969
dawgnme1969

What is it with you SI people? Third place behind Miller and Smith? Really? Are you ehfing kidding me? Peter King said, "He's putting together one of the best seasons ever by a 3-4 end"... no ish.  He's actually putting together one of the best seasons by a defender - at any  position.  1st in the league in S (tied with Smith), 1st in the league in  TFL (leading Miller by 3), leads his team in T (leading Miller and Smith by  double digits... when was the last time in interior lineman led his team in  T?!), 7th in the league in PD (the next closest lineman is ranked 41st), 3 FF  (tied with Smith), AND Watt now has 34.5 disrupted dropbacks this season (sacks  + passes defensed + interceptions), 15 more than the next-closest player (Aldon  Smith). Watt has disrupted 5.9 percent of dropbacks faced by Houston's defense,  with no other player higher than 4.0 percent.

 

"One" of the best seasons my ash - you guys need to get a clue.

mick7
mick7

Agree with ClingingtoSanity - JJ is the clear choice when you factor in his Swatts. 

ClingingtoSanity
ClingingtoSanity

If Jim Trotter has Smith and Miller ahead of Watt in his Def POY list, he really needs to look closer. Watt and Smith both have 19.5 sacks, but Smith gets his from a def end position, the spot where most sacks come from. Watt plays in a 3-4 defense, essentially a tackle, facing double teams on most every snap, and he has the same number of sacks. That's incredible. But it's when you look at other numbers besides sacks that the difference really becomes apparent. JJ has 16 passes defended (Batted down passes) and 33 tackles for a loss, 38 quarterback hits and 3 forced fumbles. That is 16 more negative plays that Aldon Smith has. It's not even close, so I have to wonder what Mr. Trotter is basing his ranking on, because it sure seems that it is based on something other than who the real best defensive player is. 

HorizontalGophers
HorizontalGophers

If I'm Watt I'd be hiring food tasters on the trip to Indy. 

WR2