J.J. Watt posts lowest ProFootballFocus grade since rookie season

If you thought J.J. Watt didn't play in last night's game against the Patriots, we don't blame you for the easy error.

The reigning Defensive Player of the Year was shutdown and neutralized by a combination of the Patriots offensive line, Tom Brady's quick release and a broken left hand. With all of it rolled into one, the terrorizing defensive end was unable to make much of an impact in Houston's biggest game of the year.

Watt recorded just three total tackles on the night to go along with just one QB hit, which was whistled for a 15-yarder as a roughing the passer penalty. The guys over at ProFootballFocus rated Watt as having his worst game since his rookie season back in 2011. His -1.3 grade tied him for his worst performance by PFF's metric since Houston's Week 4 matchup against Pittsburgh four years ago.

Even with his broken hand, the Patriots made an effort to double-team Watt on essentially every offensive play, even throwing in some chip blocks to make it a triple-team and make life incredibly difficult for the lineman. With Brady firing the ball downfield with the kind of quickness we saw earlier in the season, Watt was unable to get pressure on TB12 throughout the 60-minutes of action. 

But, the attention placed on Watt allowed others on the Houston line to exploit one-on-one matchups, with Jadeveon Clowney benefiting the most as a result with the former #1 overall pick recording seven total tackles, two sacks and two tackles for loss. Otherwise, the New England OLine rebounded quite nicely and played their best game in almost a month after they struggled against the Bills, Broncos and Eagles in weeks prior.

Photo via: Boston Globe