The NFL has named Houston Texans OLB Whitney Mercilus the AFC Defensive Player of the Week following his performance in the team's 13-12 victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars in Week 2. This marks his second career Player of the Week award and first since Week 1 of the 2016 season.
Mercilus finished with 2.0 sacks, two forced fumbles, two quarterback hits and two total tackles. He sacked and forced a fumble on Jaguars rookie QB Gardner Minshew in the fourth quarter for a loss of nine yards. DE J.J. Watt recovered the fumble at the Jacksonville 11-yard line and Houston scored the game-deciding touchdown just four plays later. Mercilus also sacked and forced a fumble on Minshew in the second quarter for a loss of nine yards. He is the only player in the NFL with multiple forced fumbles in a game in 2019.
Mercilus recorded a sack in back-to-back games for the first time since Weeks 11-12 of the 2018 season and ninth time overall in his NFL career. He now owns 11 career games with 2.0-or-more sacks, which is the third-most in team history behind Watt (24) and Mario Williams (12). Prior to Week 2, Mercilus had not recorded 2.0-or-more sacks in the regular season since Week 17 of 2016. His performance was also his second career game with multiple forced fumbles and first since Week 7 of 2018 at Jacksonville.
Mercilus joined Chris Jones (2017), Terrell Suggs (2011) and Simeon Rice (2003) as the only players to record 3.0 sacks, two forced fumbles and an interception in their teams' first two games of a season since 1993. He recorded his third sack of the season and now owns 45.5 in his NFL career (2012-19), which is the third-most in franchise history behind Watt (92.0) and Williams (53.0). He also registered his first two forced fumbles of the season to give him 11 in his NFL career and his third quarterback hit of the season to give him 92 in his NFL career.
This marks the 44th time a Texan has been named Player of the Week in franchise history and the first time this season. It is also the 17th time Houston has won the AFC Defensive Player of the Week award in team history and first since Watt in Week 12 of 2018.