Originally posted on This Given Sunday  |  Last updated 1/11/13
So Wade Phillips thinks J.J. Watt had the best season a defensive lineman's ever had, but Phillips is Watt's defensive coordinator, and thus might be apt to bias. However, the numbers indicate Phillips could be on to something, and the eyeball test certainly doesn't lie regarding Watt's dominance as a defender.  This season in Houston, Watt became the first player in NFL history to achieve what The Wall Street Journal calls the "Triple Crown" for defensive linemen. He led the league in run stuffs, sacks and batted passes.  More on that from Michael Salfino:  But this doesn't even do his season justice: Since Stats LLC began recording all three categories in 1992, his 23.5 run stuffs were nearly double the second most recorded—12 by Indianapolis Colts linebacker Kavell Conner in 2011. Watt's 15 batted passes also far exceeded the second-best mark of 11 by Minnesota Vikings defensive end Jared Allen in 2007. And the 20.5 sacks Watt recorded were just two off the all-time single-season record by Michael Strahan, formerly of the New York Giants. Pro Football Talk's Michael David Smith points to another important advanced stat, tracked by Football Outsiders, called "defeats." Using this metric, which combines turnovers, tackles for losses and tackles or passes defenses that prevent a third- or fourth-down conversion from happening, Watts had a more dominant year than any other defensive player since the data began being tracked in 1996. He had 56 in total this season, which is 11 more than Ray Lewis circa 1999.  The geniuses at Pro Football Focus also appear to approve. Last week, they named Watt the best player in football...on either side of the ball.  More from Sam Monson: People talk about how Lawrence Taylor burst into the league and changed the way people thought about 3-4 outside linebackers. You are witnessing the same thing happening now with Watt. ... Watt became the first player to ever top 100 grading points in a single season at any position, ending the year with a farcical looking +101.7 grade on 958 snaps. This time last season we anointed Justin Smith the second-best player in football, and one of the most dominant defenders in the league, with a grade of +46.5 on the season. Watt more than doubled that, and this time last year we would have told you that there wasn’t much room for a player to be better than Smith. J.J. Watt is completely re-writing what we thought was possible from his position. We are witnessing something very special. The most exciting part? The guy's only 23 years old....

This article first appeared on This Given Sunday and was syndicated with permission.

MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Nuggets to sign Richard Jefferson, waive Jameer Nelson

Dirk Koetter 'extremely' concerned about 2016 1st-rounder, Vernon Hargreaves

Former teammate on Andrew Luck: 'He's not close, in my mind'

Joe Maddon delivers classic quote about not pitching Wade Davis in Game 2

NFL insists Ezekiel Elliott suspension is ‘in place’ until further notice

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Report: Cavs will honor Kyrie Irving with video tribute on opening night

Giants expected to reinstate Rodgers-Cromartie in Week 7

Teddy Bridgewater to reportedly be taken off PUP, practice

Ex-BC football player says he has video proof of X-rated recruiting parties

Hue Jackson hints DeShone Kizer may start Week 7

Fourteen unsung heroes from Week 7 of college football

The 'Sure do hope you have a backup plan in place' quiz

Tale of the Tape: National League Championship Series

Sports & Politics Intersect: White House looms large over sports world for another week

The 'A butcher, a Baker, a touchdown maker' quiz

Tale of the tape: American League Championship Series

What's trending up, down so far in the NFL

Three Up, Three Down: Divisional Series brings both luck and heartbreak

The 'Adrian Peterson hopes to rise from the ashes in Phoenix' quiz

College football 2017 Week 7 predictions

Nikola Jokic: A throwback superstar for the modern era

NFL Week 6 predictions

The 'Help wanted: Supervising manager' quiz

NFL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Yardbarker Privacy Policy and Terms of Service. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.

The 'Sure do hope you have a backup plan in place' quiz

Tale of the Tape: National League Championship Series

Sports & Politics Intersect: White House looms large over sports world for another week

The 'A butcher, a Baker, a touchdown maker' quiz

Tale of the tape: American League Championship Series

Three Up, Three Down: Divisional Series brings both luck and heartbreak

The 'Adrian Peterson hopes to rise from the ashes in Phoenix' quiz

What's trending up, down so far in the NFL

NFL Week 6 predictions

Nikola Jokic: A throwback superstar for the modern era

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker