J.J. Watt is very good at football. Anybody who watches him for at least three plays knows this. But this motherfucker is getting out of hand. He is becoming a threat to society through just how thoroughly he dominates. Watt is starting to transcend the normal plane of football. He shouldn’t be allowed to just play for Houston every play, every week. Every team should be able to summon him equally for small amounts of time, where he can leave a wake of destruction before disappearing into the universe until his next appointment to wreck shit.
Basically, I’m saying J.J. Watt is Bahamut. If you’re not familiar with Bahamut, well, this is Bahamut:
In case you were trying to figure out which one was Bahamut, it was the big dragon thing that made everything else go boom. That’s from Final Fantasy IX. I don’t need to get into too much backstory here, but Bahamut was a really powerful son of a bitch that fucked up a lot of things. (If somebody comes on here and says “Well what about Alexander?” I will track that person down and very sternly flick him or her on the head. This is not the time to be talking about the intricacies of FFIX.) Last week, those ships that got blown up in the video were the Buffalo Bills.
The havoc Watt rained down on the Buffalo offensive line will stick in my mind for a while. First, let’s just have some fun with the numbers from this game. Here’s Pro Football Focus’s early grades from the game. Watt ended up with a +13.5 grade, which is a one-game record for 3-4 defensive ends. Here, this sentence from PFF summarizes just how turnt up Watt was against the Bills: “Watt’s nine hits (including one negated by his own roughing the passer penalty) were more than all but eight other 3-4 defensive ends had in the entire 2013 season.” I understand fully that there’s levels to this shit, but I think Watt has gone beyond the realm of what even Meek Mill can understand levels to be.
But instead of letting the numbers speak for J.J., let’s let the tape do it. Here comes a whole lot of GIFs of J.J. Watt making linemen question the abstract idea of blocking! Note that the yellow box in the still images will signify where J.J. lines up, so you can know where to watch on the GIF.
Here we see Watt lined up as a 4-technique, lining up over Seantrel Henderson, the Bills’ right tackle. The Texans are in a standard 3-4 front, with three down linemen lining up directly over offensive linemen. At the snap, the Bills run a play action toward Watt’s side.
Well, J.J. decides he doesn’t want to meet Henderson just yet and instead greets Erik Pears. And by “greet” I mean “jam into with one’s shoulder.” Watt pushes the converted tackle back while keeping his legs churning before getting a hit on Bills quarterback E.J. Manuel as he releases the ball.
That was the first play of the game.
We pick up two plays later with Watt line up on the other side of the formation. This time he’s lined up as a 5-technique, on the outside of left tackle Cordy Glenn. The Texans’ overall formation is a bit funkier here, with only two down linemen and three linebackers threatening the line of scrimmage. Add in a defensive back creeping forward and you’ve got a recipe for confusion.
And the recipe is a success! Tim Jamison, lined up over center, drives in the A gap between the center and the guard to Watt’s side. Watt, obviously fed up with not having gotten a QB hit for one whole play, plays the stunt perfectly and gets a free rush right up the middle and into Manuel’s chest. The game that Jamison and Watt play here is perfect. Look at Bills LG Chris Williams hopelessly flail for Watt. And notice how Watt gets his hands on Williams for a second to get separation before running over the top of the penetrating Jamison. This is more than just Watt’s brilliance, it’s a good two man effort, but he sure executes his part of the plan well.
AIN’T NO FUN IF THE HOMIES CAN’T HAVE NONE
Now don’t think that Watt is a greedy teammate. While his teammates help him get in the backfield, Bahamut has no problem helping the homies right back. Let’s check out some plays where other Texans players get runoff swag from J.J. Watt.
This first play starts with Watt again lined up over Bills LT Glenn. The Bills dedicate both the LG and the C to stopping our blonde hero, but Eric Wood doesn’t really do much to bother the Texans’ end. Instead, Watt engages Williams, dips and rips to the outside before forcing Manuel to step up to avoid certain death. Manuel’s reward for barely escaping Watt’s grasp is getting easily sacked by Jared Crick. Never a good look to get sacked by a dude named “Crick.”
On this next play, we see see Watt lined up back on the right, although this time he’s further outside. He’s lined up outside of the tackle’s outside shoulder. You can see Bills tight end Scott Chandler kind of looks like he may give Seantrel Henderson help on this play.
Scott Chandler doesn’t give Seantrel Henderson any help. Instead, Watt makes a quick inside move on Henderson, forcing Manuel to run for his life by stepping up in the pocket. Look, Manuel literally just looks down at the ground to try to figure out where to go next. Turns out a quarterback looking down at the ground while moving in a collapsing pocket is a pretty easy target. Sack time for the Texans.
On this last play, we’ll just look at photos of the play. The budget in Suits and 40s can’t afford all GIFs, all the time. Here Watt is lined up over his the LG again. Lined up way outside of the LT is Whitney Mercilus.
At the snap, Watt rushes the B gap between the LG and LT, as Mercilus stunts over him. Look at Williams doing his darnedest to ensure Watt doesn’t kill his quarterback. Unfortunately, nobody’s paying attention to Mercilus running right now the middle.
If you’re looking at this third picture and thinking, “That’s a weird throwing motion,” don’t worry. That’s just the throwing motion you make when a linebacker is ramming his shoulder into your chest.
MORE J.J. EMBARRASSING LINEMEN
Here we have Watt lined up in between the LG Williams and the LT Glenn. Mercilus’s outside rush leaves Watt in a one-on-one with Williams. Let’s see how that goes.
Welp. Yeah, that’s just Watt flying off the ball and right into Manuel’s torso. Look at how that poor guy just flies back as he gets hit. Did you know J.J. Watt weighs 290 pounds? God, I’m glad nobody who weighs 290 pounds has ever ran into me.
E.J. MANUEL FINALLY GETTING AWAY. HAHA NAH JK
I guess J.J. got bored beating the Bills’ left side, so he came back over to his usual post on the right. Here he’s lined up as a 3-technique in between the RG and RT. Again, outside pressure leaves guard Erik Pears one-on-one with Watt. Again, Watt just uses a brutal speed and power combination to get past him and wreck Manuel as the quarterback releases the ball.
J.J. TURNING YOUR RUN GAME INTO A (BAHA-)MUT POINT
Don’t think that J.J. just spent all day fucking up the passing game. Nah, man, Bahamut also unleashed his fire breath all over the Bills’ running plays as well. Here J.J. is lined up on the outside shoulder of Seantrel Henderson:
Just watch what the fuck happens here, man. Watt storms inside, swims the fuck out of Williams and makes the tackle. The result? 0-yard gain. Bahamut here just left an NFL athlete doing a somersault in the redzone, and I’m just at my house trying to figure out how to wash my jeans without fading them. I’d say I’m peaking much harder than J.J. Watt at the moment.
STUNTIN’ ONE MO’ GIN
Look, you know how this play is gonna end. I don’t have to tell you. J.J. Watt is gonna hit E.J. Manuel. Let’s just put that on the table right now. The point of me writing this shit is so we can all appreciate HOW he ends up causing more pain to the Bills’ QB. Watt is lined up on Henderson’s outside shoulder as such:
However, Watt rushes right down the middle, flushing Manuel from the pocket and tripping him as he barely gets the throw off. Notice how Jamison scoots over right before the snap, confusing the shit out of the Bills’ line. Center Eric Wood gets caught up in Jamison’s business while Watt just storms through the center of the line to flush Manuel. Man, I feel for E.J. Manuel.
Okay, this is the play we’ve all seen a million times. After two running plays where the Bills linemen actually blocked Watt well and created running lanes, J.J. changed the entire outlook of the game.
Do you see that shit? He’s rushing the QB, notices Fred Jackson going to the flat and reads Manuel’s eyes. He reaches TOWARD HIS SIDE and sucks up the ball into his being like he has gravitational pull. You know what, maybe J.J. isn’t Bahamut. Maybe he’s Atomos. So yeah, Watt snatches this pass, then runs 80 yards without any player even remotely catching up to him. Time for more fun with numbers. This play was in the third quarter with the Bills looking to increase on their 10-7 lead. Immediately before this play, the Texans had a 27.2% chance of winning this game, based on Pro Football Reference’s win probability chart. After this? The Bills had a 68.3% chance of winning. I’m not saying J.J. Watt’s entire life is one long form of divine intervention, but I’m not saying it isn’t, either.
Plays like this are you end up with one picture like this:
And another one like this:
Yeah, I don’t really know what to do there, either, E.J. It ain’t your fault.
BAHAMUT CLOSING THIS SHIT OUT
So, after spending an entire day turning the Bills’ offensive line into football’s version of the secret service, J.J. Watt’s reward was a comfortable margin where he could sit out the fourth quarter and avoid injury. Nahhhh, I’m just fuckin’ with you. Turns out the Bills had the ball with 1:42 left in the game and 71 yards to go for a game winning touchdown. So, J.J. had one last drive he had to impact before going home and probably continuing to work out or watch film.
In this first play, Watt finally decides he wants to treat Seantrel Henderson to the experience that is blocking Bahamut. J.J. gives a quick speed rush and Henderson never gets enough of his hands on Watt. Watt gets the corner and tackles Manuel just as the QB gets the ball out to the flat. Yeah, the pass was completed, but J.J. was still murkin’ cats. This was the third-to-last meaningful play of the game.
This time, Watt cuts inside for a second, looking like he’ll run a stunt. But instead of running a stunt he gets around Erik Pears’s outside shoulder and sticks Manuel one last time. Manuel overthrows the ball right into the waiting hands of Texans cornerback Darryl Morris. This was the last meaningful play of the game.
I have a new theory concerning E.J. Manuel’s benching this week. I think that Doug Marrone was honest when he was previously saying he had no considerations to turn to Kyle Orton. However, after last week, I think Manuel said, “THAT’s what happens in this league? Fuck that. I want to chill on the sidelines and collect my paper.” I’m not calling Manuel a coward. I’m calling him a rational human being. If I spent a Sunday getting mollywhopped by a dude from Wisconsin over and over again, I’d do whatever I could think of to make said mollywhopping a one-off moment in my life.
So, Bahamut is already raining hellfire on teams every goddamn weak. After posting maybe the best season by a defensive player ever in 2012, Watt had a damn good year in 2013. While that damn good year wasn’t as transcendent as the one before, it was still a great year by any other player’s standard. And now it looks like Watt may be even pushing his insane standard even HIGHER this year. Yes, he didn’t get a sack in this game, but he had nine hits and around 15 hurries. Oh yeah, and he also had AN 80-YARD PICK SIX. Those things don’t happen. But Bahamut don’t got time for our little understandings of the human body. He’s got offensive line units to burn to the ground.