Without any games being played, J.J. Watt slipped from first to second in the NFL in sacks on Wednesday.
Watt had a league-leading 8.5 sacks until Elias Sports Bureau ruled that his sack of Miami Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill in Week 1 was actually a designed running play. That dropped his season total to 7.5, 0.5 sacks behind Green Bay Packers linebacker Clay Matthews for the league lead.
"Whenever they take sacks away, we think it's a rip-off as a defensive lineman," Texans defensive end Antonio Smith said, grinning, on Thursday. "We try hard to get those sacks. We tryin' to figure out who the one called on J.J., 'cuz we gotta go out and get 'em."
As Smith said that to a throng of reporters, Watt walked up to get something out of his locker, which is next to Smith's. He overheard Smith talking about the lost sack and said, "Hey, man, tell 'em not to worry about it. We've got plenty more to come." Watt said earlier in the week that his goal is to lead the NFL in sacks after the season, not after Week 5.
Defensive coordinator Wade Phillips also chimed in Thursday on Watt's lost sack. He said it wasn't a sack to begin with because it was a running play, the quarterback fell down and Watt tackled the quarterback for loss.
What Phillips didn't understand is why the sack was taken away now. Standard protocol is that the opposing team will turn a play into the league to say it wasn't a sack. But the Texans-Dolphins game was four weeks ago, so it seems unlikely the Dolphins would call in about it a month later.
"It's (usually) after the game," Phillips said. "It's usually that team, but I don't know what happened.
"I'm just wondering why they didn't go back and take Michael Strahan's sack away from him when he broke the record (in 2001). If they're going to go back and take those things away, it just seems natural."
The silver lining for Watt?
"He gets another tackle for loss," Phillips said. "That probably makes him lead the league in that, too."