In what was virtually a 100% lock, Houston Texans DE J.J. Watt was named AFC Defensive Player of the Month on Thursday by the NFL. It is the second career league honor for Watt, who was also named AFC Defensive Player of the Week for his performance in the Texans Week 2 win in Jacksonville.
The award caps a stellar September for Watt, who was the most dominant, disruptive defensive player in the NFL in the seasons’ opening month. In four games he recorded a league leading 7.5 sacks, 20 tackles, 10 tackles for a loss and 5 passes defensed. Two of those deflected passes led directly to interceptions and turned a close game to a blowout in the season opening 30-10 win over the Miami Dolphins.
In that game he had 3 of his 5 passes defensed and 1.5 sacks. He was the first player since Carolina Panthers LB Kevin Greene in 1998 to have at least 1.5 sacks in each of the seasons’ first four games. Watt is already more than halfway to Mario Williams franchise record of 14 sacks set in 2008.
In the week 2 win over the Jacksonville Jaguars, Watt had another 1.5 sacks, 2 passes defensed, 2 tackles for loss, 5 tackles total and a fumble recovery. In Houston’s most impressive win of the season thus far, a 31-25 victory on the road against the Denver Broncos, Watt had the most monstrous of his early season monster performances. His 7 tackles, 4 tackles for loss and 2.5 sacks of Peyton Manning likely cemented him his AFC Defensive Player of the Month award.
Watt added 2 more sacks, 3 tackles for loss, and a fumble recovery in last Sunday’s win over the Tennessee Titans. He becomes the third Texans defensive player to win AFC Player of the Month, joining LB Connor Barwin last season and FS Marcus Coleman in 2003. Watt will look to keep terrorizing opposing offensive lines and quarterbacks on the national stage of Monday Night Football this week against the New York Jets. Although the calendar has flipped to October, the Jets are still having offensive problems and will have their hands full with #99.