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J.J. Watt is cutting out a niche for himself as a one-man wrecking crew against quarterbacks this year. One major reason why is his knack for batting down passes.
In his last nine games, Watt has 12 pass deflections. Three of Watt's eight deflections this season have led to interceptions.
Watt is tied for third in the NFL in passes batted down, a list which features mostly defensive backs. The next closest defensive lineman to Watt is Arizona Cardinals defensive end Calais Campbell with four.
Watt isn't the first defensive lineman to figure out that batting passes down at the line is a last resort when a quarterback hurry, hit or sack isn't an option any more. But he's definitely one of the best the NFL has ever seen at doing it.
Watt's pass deflections have come at crucial parts of games, and none was more important than the last play of the game Monday night.
After seeing two NFL games this season end in regulation on Hail Mary touchdown passes, Texans fans had to be a little nervous when Mark Sanchez dropped back to pass on the last play of the game with the Jets down by less than a touchdown.
Sure enough, J.J. Watt batted the pass down at the line of scrimmage—game over, Texans win. Afterwards, the star defensive end could be heard on the game broadcast yelling "you can't throw it over my head!" as he celebrated another Texans win.
Watt's impact batting down passes has given him a unique way to impact football games in a way not many other defensive lineman do.