AFC South All-22 Review: J.J. Watt Versus the Patriots, Round One

Nate Dunlevy@NateDunlevyGuest ColumnistJanuary 11, 2013

Watt doesn't need to work any harder than he already has. He's doing enough.
Watt doesn't need to work any harder than he already has. He's doing enough.USA TODAY Sports

With the Houston Texans and New England Patriots set for a rematch in the playoffs this weekend, it's time to look back on the first matchup between these two teams this season.

While the final score was brutal, there were positives for the Texans. Most notably, J.J. Watt played a strong game.

Despite accusations that he was invisible, Watt was actually the best player on the field for the Texans that night.

A look at the All-22 tape shows just how disruptive Watt can be, even when he's not piling up stats.

While the Pats were running roughshod over the Texans in the first half, one of the few positives plays for Houston was a second quarter pass by Brady for a loss of two.

On the play, the Texans overloaded the right side of the offensive line, and Watt had one-on-one blocking.

He literally beat the tackle so quickly, that it was impossible to capture. He took a free run at Brady who unloaded to Aaron Hernandez. The ball was complete, but the play went for a loss and Brady took a shot to the chest from Watt.

Part of what made Watt so effective was that he occupied blockers for his teammates. On this play, the Texans blitzed Bradie James behind Watt on third down.

Watt took on two blockers, giving his teammate that was stunting in behind him an uncontested shot on Brady.

The result was one of the few Patriots punts of the night.

Finally, even as the Texans' secondary was ready to collapse under the weight of the assault from the Patriots, Watt was there keeping them honest.

On the first drive of the second half, Watt forced a punt by executing a perfect spin move. He got leverage to the inside against his blocker, then spun off of him right into the path of the quarterback.

Brady was forced to unload deep to Donte Stallworth who was just breaking open long. Had Brady been able to hold the ball even a split second longer, the play would likely have gone for another embarrassing touchdown.

Instead, the timing was disrupted, Brady was hit, and the Texans got off the field.

The reason why no defender can ever be as valuable as a quarterback is perfectly evidenced by this game. Watt played fantastic football and the Texans were still blown out.

If Matt Schaub had played as well as Watt did that day, the final score would have been a lot more competitive.

Watt doesn't need to do anything more against the Pats in the playoffs for the Texans to win. He just needs to get some help from his teammates.