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NFL: AFC Wild Card-Indianapolis Colts at Houston Texans Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Last season, Whitney Mercilus pressured the quarterback, but he didn’t have the meaningful sack and hit numbers that edge rushers need to have. That’s changed this season. Mercilus followed up a one sack, one quarterback hit, one and a half tackles for a loss, one pass defensed game against the Saints on Monday Night Football by brutalizing Will Richardson Jr. and the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Mercilus had 2 tackles, 2 sacks, 2 tackles for a loss, 2 forced fumbles (one of which recovered by J.J. Watt), and 3 quarterback hits on top of that. One sack was hand fighting and ripping, something missing from last season when Mercilus was rushing way, way, way out wide. The other was an absurd spin move where Richardson Jr. stood and watched in awe of Mercilus’s dance move, failing to even get a hand on him.

Mercilus was awarded this week’s AFC Defensive Player of the Week Award for that performance.

Mercilus will look to expand upon his so far so great season against Philip Rivers soup tossing and a crappy tackle combination composed of Trent Scott and Sam Tevi on Sunday afternoon.