J.J. Watt wins near-perfect Defensive Player of the Year ballot
J.J. Watt received 49 votes off the nationwide 50 member panel of sportswriters and analysts who regularly cover the NFL. The only other vote went to Denver Broncos linebacker Von Miller.
The second-year pro J.J. Watt was hot off the Week 1 of the season till Week 17. And even after losing linebacker Brian Cushing to a torn ACL for the season, J.J. Watt anchored the Houston Texans (12-4) into the playoffs, fresh off their second straight AFC South title. However, Houston Texans lost to the New England Patriots in the AFC Divisional round.
The Houston Texans had the seventh-leading run defense in the league, while their pass defense ranked 16th in the NFL in terms of yards during the regular season.
J.J. Watt had a prolific season as a pass rusher, despite rushing from the inside to finish with 20.5 sacks. He also made rival quarterbacks’ jobs increasingly difficult, tying from Houston Texans’ franchise-leading 16 passes defended. The 26-years old J.J. Watt also a solid run stuffer, registering 23 tackles for a loss, while forcing four fumbles and recovering two fumbles.
Fellow classman and last year’s NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year Von Miller also had a great season amassing 68 tackles, 18.5 sacks, 28 tackles for loss, 25 quarterback hits, including six forced fumbles and an interception returned for touchdown. But J.J. Watt’s performance didn’t stand apart merely based on his production. It’s however phenomenal the way J.J. Watt was able to dominate the game as an inside linebacker in a 3-4 defense, as was evident in the regular season games against the New York jets, Denver Broncos, Detroit Lions and Indianapolis Colts.
It will be extremely difficult to top his 2012 performance, but J.J. Watt promised to comeback with an even more spectacular campaign.
"I can get a lot better. I'm only 23. I've got a long ways to go," said J.J. Watt. "I'm still growing as a human being and as a player. There's a lot more I can do and I'm looking forward to exploring what else is out there."
However, he also credited his teammates for contributing to the defense’s success.
"It's all the guys. It's everybody," said J.J. Watt. "Everybody can make plays on our defense. It's not just me. That's what's so fun about playing for this team."