Whitney Mercilus is not overthinking it anymore and it appears to be working.
The second-year outside linebacker had back-to-back plays in the second quarter on the Jaguars quarterback Chad Henne. Mercilus sacked Henne for a loss of six yards. On the next play, his hit on Henne forced an intentional grounding call that moved the ball back 13 yards.
Defensive coordinator Wade Phillips called it one of Whitney's best games.
Mercilus says it's easier said than done to rely on your instincts and not do anything extra. He calls it a "See ball. Go get ball" mentality.
"You want to get a win and you want to do whatever you can just to get a win," Mercilus said. "Sometimes on defense, we can actually get out of our game and try to do too much, like somebody won't fill a gap or something like that, or an 80-yard run happens. That's basically what we have to do, just play our game."
Mercilus says he still made some mistakes but he has to learn to live with them. Phillips told him to just play as hard as he could and they would "get those mistakes right" together.
"Whit is a guy that tries to do everything perfect all the time," Phillips said. "He gets upset with himself if it isn't. Those kinds of personalities need to let it go sometimes. They just need to go and play and not worry about anything. That's what we asked him to try and do. After the ballgame, he said that's what he did."