HOUSTON — In 2011, the Houston Texans held a nine-point lead over the New Orleans Saints with two minutes left in the second quarter. Drew Brees initiated a snap as the Saints held the ball deep within the Texans’ territory on 2nd-and-8 inside The Mercedes-Benz Superdome.
As Brees scanned the field looking for an open receiver, J.J. Watt rushed Saints’ o-linemen Zach Strief to register his first career sack. The then 22-year-old defensive end saluted to the crowd, but the Texans ultimately fell short in a 40-33 loss to the Saints.
Nine years later, Watt captured his 100th career sack in a 27-25 victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday. The 31-year-old future Hall-Of-Famer recorded the milestone during a strip-sacked on rookie quarterback Jake Luton at TIAA Bank Field.
While becoming the 34th player in NFL history to reach 100 sacks, Watt became the first Texan in franchise history to achieve the milestone.
“I appreciate the sentiment and everything,” Watt said during his post-game press conference on Sunday. “Like I told the guys in there, anytime a personal achievement in this game is accomplished, it’s because of many people — it’s never just one person. It’s a team sport, and while it’s me who got to the 100 today, there’s a whole lot of people who had a hand in that. So I’m thankful to all of them.”
Watt’s latest achievement is a testament to how he established himself as one of the most prominent pass rushers in league history. He recorded 5.5 sacks as a rookie and since registered five seasons of posting double-digit sacks.
In 2012, he took home the first of three Defensive Player of the Year awards after recording 20.5 sacks on the season — a career-high he would later match in 2014. He posted 74.5 sacks through his first five seasons and appeared to be on track to surpass Bruce Smith as the NFL’s all-time leader. But injuries derailed Watt’s career, limiting him to just 40 games since 2016.
After Sunday’s victory, Watt reflected on his accomplishment by saying, “I probably should’ve done this three or four years ago so it’s not necessarily – it’s a big deal. But to me, it’s past due.”
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