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Old 12-07-2012   #1
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Default Grantland--The Trenchie Awards: ...the Play of the Year from J.J. Watt

Grantland
THE BIG FELLAS
The Trenchie Awards: Some Vintage John Abraham and the Play of the Year from J.J. Watt
By Robert Mays on December 7, 2012

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On the play, Houston is lined up in a 4-3 defense — rather than its base 3-4 — with Watt as the left defensive end. At the snap, the run action comes Watt’s direction, and his job, as right tackle Mike Otto (no. 66) attempts to reach him, is to maintain outside leverage and push the play back inside. Because he’s J.J. Watt, he gets his hands on Otto quickly and does this with relative ease.

After it’s clear that Watt has beaten Otto to the outside, tight end Craig Stevens (no. 88), who lined up at fullback on the play, sprints toward the sideline in an effort to get to Watt’s outside shoulder. Initially, Stevens beats Watt to the spot, but his advantage doesn’t last very long. Watt disengages with Otto, extends his hands onto Stevens, and using a subtle swim over the top with his right hand, regains position to the outside.

All of this is enough to make for an incredible play. Watt’s avoided being reached by two separate defenders (including one not assigned to block him; Stevens’s job here is actually to take now-unblocked outside linebacker Connor Barwin), and the expectations for him on such a play should be over. With the play forced back inside, pursuing teammates should be able to make the play for little or no gain. That doesn’t happen.

Instead, just as Chris Johnson slows to cut back, Watt stops, sheds Stevens, spills back to the inside, makes a tackle four yards deep in the backfield, and forces a fumble. The play is a collection of what makes Watt the best run-defending defensive linemen in football, but nothing here is more impressive that the use of his hands. While never stopping his movement to the outside, the ability to shift his hands from Otto to Stevens and then shed the second blocker is something few, if any other defensive linemen in the league are capable of. The first 12 games of this season have seemingly been a collection of J.J. Watt highlights, but they aren’t going to get any better than this....
read the complete article here: http://www.grantland.com/blog/the-tr...-from-j-j-watt
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