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J.J. Watt picks up sack, forced fumble in loss to Vikings

Posted Dec 24, 2012

Despite the Texans' Week 16 loss, DE J.J. Watt had another big game. With 20.5 sacks, he is now two away from tying Michael Strahan's NFL record.

With another sack, three quarterback hits, two tackles for loss and a forced fumble, it was a productive day on the stat sheet for defensive end J.J. Watt on Sunday.

It wasn’t any sort of comfort to Watt and the Texans, who fell to the Vikings by a 23-6 margin. In the locker room after the game, Watt was already focused on what's ahead next Sunday at Indianapolis.

“We didn’t play our best today, and we lost the football game,” Watt said. “We’re going to get it corrected, and we’re going to go to Indianapolis and win ourselves a game.”

Watt sacked Minnesota quarterback Christian Ponder for a three-yard loss in the third quarter, forcing a fumble in the process. That gave him 20.5 sacks in 2012, leaving him 2.5 shy of Michael Strahan’s NFL-record 22.5 set in 2001. Watt had three sacks against the Colts in Week 15 at Reliant Stadium, and he has six games with two or more sacks this season.

Watt’s forced fumble was his fourth of the year, tying him for the Texans' single-season record. It also was his fourth consecutive game with a forced fumble. He now has accounted for nine of Houston’s 29 forced turnovers in 2012. Three of his forced fumbles were recovered by teammates, he has pounced on a pair of fumbles and he has deflected a quartet of passes that were picked off by the Texans.

Watt's disruptive nature and the impact he has on the game was not lost on the Vikings.

“We knew we would have trouble with J.J. Watt,” Minnesota running back Adrian Peterson said. “I learned a lot today about him that I didn’t pick up on tape. He is an animal. He is a beast. With him out there, it can really confuse a lot of stuff that we do offensively.”

Only eight other players in NFL history have notched 20 or more sacks in a season, and Minnesota head coach Leslie Frazier was mightily impressed with what he saw from Watt on Sunday afternoon.

“There were some times, you know, when you see him in our backfield making tackles,” Frazier said. “We’re trying to do everything we can to keep him out of plays, but because of the fact that he’s a great player, he finds ways to make plays. I have a lot of respect for his game. He’s a great player.”

Despite the loss, Watt is confident Houston will respond with a better outcome next Sunday at Indianapolis.

“We’re going to be fine,” Watt said. “We’re going to get things corrected. We’re going to have a good week of practice. We’re going to get focused and then we’re going to come out there and earn ourselves home-field advantage.”

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