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Chiefs wary of J.J. Watt, but is Whitney Mercilus a problem, too?

Houston Texans outside linebacker Whitney Mercilus (right) was congratulated by defensive end J.J. Watt (99) after a sack in Sunday’s game.
Houston Texans outside linebacker Whitney Mercilus (right) was congratulated by defensive end J.J. Watt (99) after a sack in Sunday’s game. The Associated Press

Houston star defensive end J.J. Watt commands plenty of attention, and rightfully so. The reigning NFL defensive player of the year just posted his second consecutive 17  1/2 -sack season.

But Watt isn’t the only pass rusher the Texans have, as outside linebacker Whitney Mercilus has quietly been a force as well, racking up 12 sacks on his own.

In a 30-6 win over the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday, the two combined for 6  1/2 of the Jaguars’ eight sacks.

“He is playing really good as of late,” Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith said. “They get a lot of one-on-ones up there, and those guys are winning. They are getting a good push. Like I said, they are disruptive, they are getting home and getting a lot of good hits on the quarterback and tackles in the back field and things like that. They wear you down.”

Chiefs coach Andy Reid agreed.

“I think he is playing real good football, both in the run and the pass game,” Reid said. “He has a nice combination in the pass game, uses his hands well, has good quickness and speed, plays with good leverage.”

Here is a quick, one-minute scouting report of the Houston Texans, who are the Chiefs' first playoff opponent.

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