Texans player of the game: J.J. Watt
For the first time in over two years J.J. Watt sacked a quarterback and for the first time in even longer, he looked like himself. Watt was again a force for offenses to worry about despite his team failing yet again to win the game. He would find the Giants passer two more times on his way to a huge day despite another bad loss for the team.
“Personal stats don’t matter at all in a loss,” Watt said. He might be right, but he almost singlehandedly made them matter.
The play was actually a strip of Eli Manning as Watt darted past the Giants offensive line almost before the snap swatting the right arm of Manning causing the ball to squirt out before New York recovered it. Earlier on the same set of downs, Watt split defenders to smash rookie sensation Saquon Barkley for a rare loss for the Giants rushing attack. Watt would add two other hurries and a tackle to those previous flashes of greatness for a stellar first half.
Watt picked up where he left off in the third Giants drive of the third quarter. The Giants right tackle struggled to contain Watt as he dispatched the blocking scheme and wrapped up Manning for a 10-yard loss. The Giants would punt one play later.
Vintage Watt showed up on the next drive on third down. After teammate Angelo Blackson set the Giants back with a sack of his own on first down, two plays later Watt swam past the blocking and wrapped up Manning who saw 99 coming and retreated in a hurry.
Watt looked to tire during some of the action missing a play here or there but he often drew the most attention or any of the Texans rushers. The Texans defense allowed their first touchdown of the second half to the Giants. He finished with eight tackles, three sacks, three tackles for a loss, and four hits on the quarterback.
Despite the effort from Watt, the Texans are off to their worst start since 2008 when they began 0-4 before finishing the season 8-8.
“You don’t expect anyone outside the building to believe in you,” he said. “Rightfully so...All of us need to look in the mirror, analyze ourselves, and figure out what we can do better every single day to find a game to win games."
It is a great sign for the Texans to see Watt look like his old self. The few plays he sat out were expected due to the intensity he had to play with to keep the Giants from putting the Texans away, although it seemed like the Giants were able to wear him down and finally get him blocked late. Any help from the other pass rushers and Watt will shine even brighter. The Colts are next up with hope quickly slipping away for the Texans.