DETROIT – Two days ago, Lions center Dominic Raiola publicly challenged J.J. Watt to "bring it."
Watt got the memo. After dominating Detroit with three sacks and two passes defensed in a 34-31 overtime victory at Ford Field on Thursday, he had a message of his own for Raiola.
"Tell him to have a Happy Thanksgiving," Watt said.
Thursday was certainly a happy day for Watt. The second-year defensive end sacked Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford on the first play from scrimmage. He added two more sacks in the fourth quarter that ended potential scoring drives. He had four tackles for loss and five quarterback hits.
"He's a beast," Texans wide receiver Andre Johnson said. "The way he's playing right now is unreal. If it was up to me, he would be the MVP."
Watt now has 14.5 sacks this season, a new franchise record. The previous record was 14.0, set by Mario Williams in 2007.
"It's an honor," Watt said. "It's an honor and a privilege. Hopefully, I can keep breaking it and breaking and breaking it and breaking it. I'm not done."
Watt also has 13 passes defensed, which ties the NFL record for passes defensed by a defensive lineman in a single season (Reggie White, 1991). He is the second player, along with White, ever to record 14 sacks and 13 passes defensed in one season.
Television cameras captured a heated sideline exchange between Texans defensive line coach Bill Kollar and Watt just before Watt's fourth-quarter outburst. Kollar said after the game that Watt had lined up in the wrong gap, so Kollar "went over and told him what I thought."
"(Stuff) like that happens all the time," Kollar said. "We get that like in practice, too. I'm gonna do it earlier next week."
Asked what he thought of Watt's play, Kollar smiled and summed it up succinctly – and eloquently.
"He played good," Kollar said. "About like he usually does."