Watt’s playoff history bodes well for Texans against Chiefs
HOUSTON (AP) — J.J. Watt has had plenty of great games for the Texans.
And as Houston looks to end Kansas City’s 10-game winning streak in the wild-card round of the playoffs, it can take comfort in this: Some of the star defensive end’s best games have come in the postseason.
In four playoff games, Watt has five sacks, 17 tackles, three batted passes and an interception return for a touchdown.
His most notable playoff performance came as a rookie in the 2011 season in Houston’s first postseason game against Cincinnati. The game was tied 10-10 when Watt swatted down a pass, grabbed his first career interception and returned it for a touchdown to give Houston the lead in a 31-10 win.
Watt was also good in Houston’s only other playoff win which was also against Cincinnati in the wild-card round a year later. He had five tackles, a sack and swatted down two passes in the 19-10 victory.
“The playoffs are the goal, obviously,” he said. “It’s the goal to get to the playoffs and then to take it from there. So all you can do is take it one game at a time. You need to play your best football in the playoffs. So it’s a great opportunity for us to go out there in front of our home crowd, fly around, have some fun and enjoy ourselves.”
Coach Bill O’Brien knows it helps to have players such as Watt and many members of his staff with playoff experience as they prepare for Saturday’s game.
“I think it’s good because you can just talk to them about our experiences and things that went wrong and things that went right and how we’ve all learned from it and try to give them our thoughts on those things,” O’Brien said.
Watt believes it’s important to try and treat this game like any other.
“There is some added emotion, added energy, added excitement and you need to harbor that and use it the right way and channel it to use it for positive and don’t let it overwhelm you,” he said. “Having been here and played in four playoff games now since I’ve been here, I think I’ve got a handle on how to do that.”
Watt, who won his second Defensive Player of the Year award last season, had another big season. He led the NFL with 17½ sacks to join Reggie White as the only players in NFL history to have three 15-sack seasons in their first five years in the league. He also had 76 tackles, 29 tackles for losses, 50 quarterback hits, batted down eight passes, forced three fumbles and recovered one.
Watt broke his left hand on Dec. 9 and played the next three games with a club-like cast that slowed him down a bit. He played without the cast for the first time on Sunday and looked like his old self, finishing with three sacks, recovering a fumble and forcing another one.
He shared his plans for what he’ll do with his injured hand on Saturday.
“I’ll be wearing the same thing I was wearing last week,” he said. “Just a little thing to make sure that it’s protected because it’s still not fully healed. But it’s very nice to have it back, and I’m looking forward to playing another week with it back in use.”
Watt, who has made several attempts at dancing after making big plays in the past, tried out his dance moves again last week.
After his second sack of Blake Bortles he did basically every dance that’s been hot in the past year, starting with the “whip” before moving onto the “nae, nae,” the “dab” and “running off on the plug twice.”
While the Texans were happy to see Watt have a big game, the man who has the unenviable task of teaching the 6-foot-5, 289-pound Wisconsin native dance moves was not impressed with his effort in that realm.
“J.J. doesn’t have good coordination as you can see,” Houston cornerback and Watt’s dance coach A.J. Bouye said.
“He can play football, but he can’t dance. So we try to work on him. We’re going to put in some more time this week after practice just to teach him a few things. I’m going to send him some YouTube videos so hopefully that should help.”
Even Watt knows he isn’t the most graceful dancer and called his moves “terrible”. But the home crowd seems to enjoy the effort.
“We’re just trying to get him a little rhythm, that’s pretty much it,” Bouye said. “He gets the crowd going (but) I don’t think they’re really screaming — I think they’re more laughing at him if anything. But we’re going to work on it.”
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