At 12-3, the Houston Texans have been on top of the AFC all season. It’s only fitting that they had the most players in the conference named to the Pro Bowl. The Texans had a team record eight players named to the Pro Bowl team, second in the NFL to the San Francisco 49ers nine representatives.
The eight Texans named to the squad were Matt Schaub, Arian Foster, Andre Johnson, Duane Brown, Chris Myers and Wade Smith on offense, along with J.J. Watt and Johnathan Joseph on the defensive side of the ball. Foster, Johnson, Brown, Watt and Joseph were selected as starters, while Schaub, Myers and Smith were tabbed as reserves.
It is the sixth Pro Bowl selection for Johnson, who has 100 receptions for an AFC leading 1,457 yards. Foster was named for the third year in a row and third time overall. He has compiled 1,328 rushing yards, second in the AFC and a league leading 14 rushing and 15 total touchdowns.
Schaub, Myers and Joseph made it for the second time. Schaub, who was the MVP of the 2009 Pro Bowl, has passed for 22 touchdowns to just 10 interceptions. He is second in the conference with a 62.8 completion percentage, and has won 19 of his last 25 starts over the past two seasons.
Myers and Joseph were named to the team for the second consecutive season. Myers is the leader of the Texans offensive line that twice this season won the Madden Protectors Award and have allowed only 24 sacks, second fewest in the NFL. Joseph has 57 tackles, 9 passes defensed and 2 interceptions, including one returned for a touchdown. He draws the opponent’s best receiver on a weekly basis.
Smith, Brown and Watt all made the Pro Bowl for the first time. Smith and Brown anchor the right side of the Texans line. Brown is widely regarded as the most dominant left tackle in the league and Smith gets the honor in his 10th season. They have started 75 and 47 consecutive games respectively for Houston.
The biggest, no doubt about it selection was Watt. In his second season, the soon to be named Defensive Player of the Year leads the league with 20.5 sacks. He is two shy of the NFL record of 22.5 set by Michael Strahan heading into the season finale against the Indianapolis Colts. He had 3 sacks vs Indianapolis in week 15, and a repeat of that performance Sunday will give him the record. He is already in the record books this season, breaking Reggie White’s record of most sacks and passes defensed in the same season. He has 15 passes defensed this season.
Owen Daniels, James Casey, Danieal Manning, Bryan Braman and Antonio Smith were selected as alternates for the game. Of course, they and the other eight Texans are happy with the honor, but will gladly have to sit out the game this season. If that’s the case, that means that they would be preparing to play in the big game the following week, the Super Bowl.