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J.J. Watt feels great after knocking a little rust off

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J.J. Watt started the Houston Texans' first game of the season, but it wasn't a performance we are used to seeing from the three-time Defensive Player of the Year.

After a herd of offseason surgeries, including back surgery in July, it wasn't a shock that Watt wasn't at full power in the Texans' 23-14 win over the Chicago Bears.

"I'm knocking a little bit of rust off," Watt said Monday, via the Houston Chronicle. "I think as we move forward here, I'll start to feel fully like myself again, but there's definitely some things I wish I could've done differently."

Watt said he had zero problems with his back and his body felt fine a day after the game. He played 49 snaps in his return, 17th most among interior defenders but ranked 94th according to Pro Football Focus grades.

"Yeah, he feels great," coach Bill O'Brien said. "It's really a testament to him to be able to come back from that type of surgery in July and play in an NFL football game. I mean I don't know how many guys could do that. First of all, I give a lot of credit to him. He knows that he needs to go out there and play better.

"I'm sure he'll be the first one to tell you that. As the game went on, I thought he played better and better. He was getting more used to the speed of the game. He hadn't played in a long time. No training camp. I think you'll see the more he plays, he'll be back to what you're looking for."

The game film backs up O'Brien's comments. In the first half of Sunday's tilt, Watt was stonewalled for the most part by Bears new guard Josh Sitton. Watt compiled one measly tackle and no QB hits in the first half. As the game wore on, the Texans got Watt in more advantageous matchups on the outside, and the massive D-lineman began to win. He ended with one tackle and three QB hits for the game. If it weren't for a couple of Jay Cutler bailout throwaways, Watt would have had at least one sack too.

As the weeks press forward, we expect to see Watt become more forceful as more of the rust falls off.

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