Continuing a position-by-position look back at the Texans' 2012 season:
2012 Season in Review: QB | RB | WR | TE | OL
Any discussion of the 2012 Texans, let alone their defense or defensive line, has to start with
Watt had a season for the ages en route to his first Pro Bowl, unanimous All-Pro honors and a near-unanimous selection as the NFL Defensive Player of the Year. The second-year defensive end from Wisconsin led the NFL with 20.5 sacks, tied for the sixth-highest total in league history, and set an NFL record for a defensive lineman with 16 passes defensed.
Watt also led the Texans with 39 tackles for loss, 42 quarterback hits, four forced fumbles and 107 tackles according to coaches’ statistics. He contributed to 95 plays that resulted in no gain or a loss of yards. Watt was named a team captain at midseason and the Texans’ 2012 MVP.
Rookie defensive end
2012 Defensive Line in Review - Quick Hits
Starters: DE: Watt (16 games, plus 2 in playoffs), Smith (16 games, plus 2 in playoffs); NT: Cody (12 games, plus 1 in playoffs), Mitchell (3 games)
Injuries: Cody (ribs/back, Weeks 10-12), DE
Best game: Week 15 vs. Indianapolis – Watt had the best game of his career as the Texans beat the Indianapolis Colts 29-17 to clinch the AFC South title at Reliant Stadium. Watt had a career-high 10 solo tackles, all solo, along with three sacks, three other tackles for loss, four quarterback hits and one forced fumble at the goal line. Smith chipped in with a sack and three quarterback hits.
Quotable: “He’s almost like having a great quarterback. When the game really, really is on the line, he’s gonna play his best.” -- Texans coach Gary Kubiak on Watt on Nov. 23, a day after Watt had three sacks at Detroit on Thanksgiving
“I think I was robbed, because that would’ve been the greatest play ever, in my life. It felt good getting in the end zone, especially when I was making those Chris Johnson-type cuts, stiff-arming, then I pull out the 4.5 (speed). It wasn’t 4.2 today. It was just 4.5.” – Smith on Dec. 2, after a would-be fumble return for a touchdown at Tennessee was nullified by an inadvertent whistle
“What he’s doing is amazing. If he keeps going at the rate he’s going, I think he’ll probably be the greatest Texan to come through here. He’s a hell of a player, and I enjoy watching him.” –
“Just wait ‘til next year. I’m 23 years old. I’m two years into the league. I’m still learning what I’m doing out there. I’m just trying to have some fun… My second year is not going to be my best year in the NFL, I can promise you that.” Watt on Jan. 14, a day after the Texans were eliminated from the playoffs at New England