Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watt was without a doubt the winner of the Hoss of the Week award. He didn't fill the stat sheet, per se, but if you watched the game, you know he was all over Buffalo Bills quarterback EJ Manuel like some Cam Newton jeggings for most of the day.
The guy who ended up benefiting the most from Watt's dominance was his teammate and fellow defensive lineman Jared Crick, who was able to finish Manuel off for a sack twice after Watt forced him off his spot. On the first sack, Watt jacked up rookie left guard Cyril Richardson, then ripped his way outside and almost got Manuel with a chop from behind to try to get the ball out. That pressure forced Manuel right up into Crick's waiting arms. On the second sack, Watt ripped inside rookie right tackle Seantrel Henderson and put his hands up to keep Manuel from throwing the ball to his right. When Manuel ducked and darted forward to avoid Watt, he ran smack dab into Crick.
I'm not saying Crick doesn't deserve those sacks. I'm just saying he probably owes Watt a nice steak dinner this week or whenever he gets a new contract.
That wasn't even close to the extent of the impact that Watt had on the game. I'm sure everybody in America knows by now that he was able to step in front of one of Manuel's throws and instead of just knocking it down, catch it and run it alllllllll the way back for a pick-six. But does everyone know the circumstances? Did you know that play happened on the Bills' first drive of the second half? Did you know it happened after Texans quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick had already thrown an interception of his own on their first play from scrimmage after halftime? Did you know the Texans were actually losing 10-7 at the time?
That pick-six wasn't just a big play because of how unusual it was; it was a big play because it came at a time when the game was on the line and helped swing momentum to the Texans.
Both teams went back and forth on the scoreboard, with the Bills scoring a touchdown and the Texans hitting three field goals after Watt's big play. With 1:14 left in the game, the Bills were still very much in it, down 23-17, and already at the Texans' 41-yard line. That's when Watt made another play that won't show up on the stat sheet, but helped to seal the victory for the Texans.
With Manuel lined up in the shotgun, Watt aligned himself on the outside shoulder of Bills right guard Erik Pears. At the snap, Watt gave a quick head fake inside to get Pears to shift his weight in that direction. He ran right around Pears' outside shoulder to absolutely crush Manuel as he attempted to throw the football downfield to one of two Bills receivers in the area. It's hard to discern whether it was Robert Woods or Mike Williams that Manuel was trying to throw to because Watt's hit altered the trajectory of the pass. It sailed past Woods but not quite all the way to Williams before it ended up in the waiting hands of Texans cornerback Darryl Morris.
Watt's fingerprints are all over that Texans victory, from start to finish. It was easy for me to pick him as my Hoss of the Week. I have a feeling it won't be the last time.