HOUSTON — J.J. Watt had just sprinted 80 yards on an interception return for a touchdown to give the Texans the lead on Sunday against Buffalo, and it was time to play defense again.
Coaches offered to give the 289-pound defensive end a minute to catch his breath, but he waved them off dismissively. No way was Houston's star missing even one play.
"I love to be out there," Watt said. "I don't like to give plays up. I don't like to be on the sidelines for any of them if I can go."
Watt's highlight-reel play helped the Texans overcome a tough day offensively for a 23-17 win over the Bills.
Houston (3-1) was down by three in the third quarter when Watt put his hands up to block an EJ Manuel pass, tipped it to himself and caught it with no Bills in front of him. Kareem Jackson blocked Manuel, and Watt raced to the end zone to put the Texans up 14-10.
Watt caught a touchdown pass in Week 2, giving him more TDs this year than Arian Foster and Andre Johnson combined.
"He made a play, and a key of ours was to make sure he wasn't going to make that big disruptive play prior to the game, and he did, and he made a lot of plays," Bills coach Doug Marrone said of Watt.
Texans quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick had a tough day against his former team, throwing for 268 yards with two interceptions. He put together one nice drive capped by a 35-yard touchdown reception by DeAndre Hopkins that cut the lead to 10-7 just before halftime.
Under heavy pressure all afternoon, Manuel finished with 225 yards passing with two touchdowns and two interceptions. Buffalo (2-2) was driving late when Darryl Morris picked him off at the Houston 15 to secure the victory.
Manuel got the Bills within 20-17 when he hit a wide-open Mike Williams for an 80-yard touchdown with about nine minutes left.
Randy Bullock had a 41-yard field goal in the third quarter and added field goals of 55 and 50 yards in the fourth for Houston.
Kyle Williams tipped Fitzpatrick's pass at the line and it was intercepted by Nigel Bradham on the first play of the second half. It didn't matter much, though, as Watt's interception came three plays later.
Watt added a bit of swagger when he high-stepped and waved one hand in the air as he crossed the goal line, igniting the home crowd. He said he had no clue what he did, but added that it may have been half Deion Sanders high-step and half a dance called the "Nae Nae." He cringed when he saw it unfolding in real time on the Jumbotron.
"I was like: 'You're a white defensive lineman, just run the ball in," Watt joked.
He said his goal was to be underpaid when he signed a six-year, $100 million contract earlier this month, and so far he hasn't disappointed.
"He's worth every cent," owner Bob McNair said. "I hope he doesn't come in tomorrow and ask for a raise."
He's the second player since the merger in 1970 to have an interception return for a touchdown and a touchdown catch in the same season. Houston assistant coach Mike Vrabel did it in 2005 for New England.
Watt finished with five tackles and had a career-high nine hits on Manuel.
Hopkins' TD pass capped the first drive where the Texans mustered any offense, and they had negative yards rushing until late in the second quarter.
They also had some problems on defense, with Watt committing two roughing-the-passer penalties in the first quarter.
NOTES: Foster played after missing last week with a hamstring injury and said he wasn't "100 percent" healthy. He was limited to eight carries for six yards but gained 55 yards on seven receptions. ... Bradham and defensive tackle Kyle Williams left with knee injuries and didn't return. Marrone didn't have an update on their condition after the game.
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