Texans defensive end J.J. Watt has been named the AFC Defensive Player of the Month.
Watt led the NFL with 7.5 sacks in September as the Texans went 4-0. He leads the Texans' top-ranked defense in tackles for loss (10) and fumble recoveries (2), is tied for the team lead in passes defensed (5) and ranks second on the team in tackles (20).
Watt, 23, was the first player with at least 1.5 sacks in each of the first four games of a season since linebacker Kevin Greene in 1998. The second-year pro from Wisconsin is on pace for an NFL-record 30 sacks and is already more than halfway to the Texans' single-season sack record of 14.0 set by Mario Williams in 2008.
In Week 1, Watt had 1.5 sacks and three passes defensed in the Texans' 30-10 victory over the Miami Dolphins. Two of his tipped passes were intercepted by teammates, leading to touchdowns that broke open a close game.
Watt's dominance continued in Week 2 with 1.5 sacks, two passes defensed, two tackles for loss, a team-high five tackles and a fumble recovery in a 27-7 victory at the Jacksonville Jaguars.
In Week 3, Watt sacked Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning 2.5 times. He had four tackles for loss and seven total tackles. He was named AFC Defensive Player of the Week.
Watt kept up his incredible start to the season in Week 4 with two sacks, three tackles for loss and a fumble recovery against the Tennessee Titans.
Watt accounted for more than half of the Texans' 13 sacks in September. He helped the Texans rank first in the NFL in scoring defense (14.0 points/game) and yards allowed (273.0/game) and second in passing defense (182.8).
The 11th overall pick in the 2011 draft, Watt earned All-Rookie honors last season after racking up 56 tackles, 5.5 sacks, a team-high 7.0 tackles for loss and four passes defensed. He tied for the NFL postseason lead with 3.5 sacks in just two games.
Watt is the third defensive player in Texans history to win AFC Player of the Month honors.
List of Texans AFC Player of the Month Award Winners:
J.J. Watt (Defensive), September 2012
Connor Barwin (Defensive), November 2011
Arian Foster (Offensive), October 2011
Arian Foster (Offensive), September 20110
Andre Johnson (Offensive), October 2008
Marcus Coleman (Defensive), September 2003
Chad Stanley (Special Teams), September 2002