A funny thing happened on the way to the Texans posting a winning record: Their defense started playing unbelievably well. After surrendering 44 points to Ryan Tannehill’s Dolphins on October 25, the Texans held three of their next four opponents to a mere six points a game. And though it’ll be tempting at some point to declare him overhyped, we can confidently state the main reason they’ve done that is—you guessed it—J.J. Watt.
Over the four-game winning streak, through which the Texans improved from 2-5 to become not just a candidate to win the soft AFC South, but also a viable wildcard team even if they lose the division, Watt has racked up 7.5 sacks in those four games, along with 20 tackles and a forced fumble. In basketball, a lone player who’s determined to take over the game can singlehandedly lead his team to a championship—but football isn’t supposed to work that way. The fact that J.J. Watt is doing that for the Texans makes this perhaps the most exciting season in the career of one of the league’s best defenders in a generation.
With J.J. Watt’s unreal play on the field delaying the seemingly inevitable backlash, it’s worth taking a moment to appreciate what it’s like to be on the field with that guy—and since he was wearing a mic for the NFL Network’s SoundFX series during Sunday’s game against the Saints (two sacks, five tackles, Drew Brees’s first game without a touchdown since 2012), we can get a glimpse of what Watt’s like as a dude on that field, rather than just as a Hard Knocks personality or a guy selling pizzas and Verizon cell phone service in commercials.