Jack linebacker Whitney Mercilus received the first POTM award of his career today after a stunning final quarter of the season where he amassed 17 tackles, 5.5 sacks, 8 tackles for loss, and 1 forced fumble. Largely used as a rotational player throughout the season, Mercilus has been highly productive during games in which the starting Jack 'backer, Jadeveon Clowney, has been out with injuries. In those three such contests (at Jaguars, at Bengals, and hosting Jaguars), Mercilus tallied 6.5 sacks, 10 TFL, and the aforementioned forced fumble. For those counting at home, that is over half of Mercilus’ sack production coming in games in which Clowney is not on the field at all.
Most Texans fans were a little confused by Mercilus’ four-year contract extension that was signed back in May – myself included – but I will admit that his production this season has far exceeded his paycheck. Rotational player or not, 12 sacks is 12 sacks. Without that unexpected production coming off the edges opposite of J.J. Watt, who knows if this elite Texans defense would have been nearly as effective? One can only hope that Jadeveon Clowney has a similar late bloom to Mercilus in the upcoming playoffs, just for the sake of really not playing fair.
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