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Bengals coach calls Texans DE J.J. Watt future Hall-of-Famer

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"He's a first-ballot Hall-of-Famer. He's one of the best defensive players that I've seen in my 25 years," Paul Alexander said of J.J. Watt.

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The score was tied 10-10 and the game clock was inching closer to halftime. Andy Dalton took the shotgun snap, surveyed the field, fake pumped A.J. Green's sideline route before his internal clock exploded like a klaxon alarm. With his peripheral vision saturated with deep blue Texans jerseys, Dalton initiated a scramble, finding daylight around the left edge.

It was a 15-yard gain to the Bengals' 34-yard line.

The clock kept moving. Dalton shouted instructions. Once his receivers were positioned and the audibles were called, Dalton took the shotgun snap and targeted A.J. Green's quick hitch to the 40-yard line.

J.J. Watt, playing a three-technique, jumped into the air, grasped the football, and returned it 29 yards for the touchdown. It was that quick, shocking and unexpected. There was no lead-up to this man's improbable ability. It just happened. Houston exploded. Cincinnati sobbed. Following a handful of plays, both teams went to their respective locker rooms for halftime.

Cincinnati never came back out.

Watt, who was only a rookie that year, began etching his name into stardom. Since that (god awful) moment, Watt has generated a handful of accolades.

j.j. watt numbers

In four games played (two playoff games and two regular season games), Watt has been a hurricane against Cincinnati's offensive linemen. Ironically, in two postseason games, Watt has generated two sacks, an interception and touchdown. During his two regular season games, Watt hasn't recorded a sack with shutdown performances from Andre Smith (who suffered a torn triceps last season) and Marshall Newhouse in relief of Smith last season. Watt was still graded as one of the best performers that week, according to Pro Football Focus.

Paul Alexander, Cincinnati's offensive line coach dating back to 1994, knows what his men are in for, calling Watt a generational player.

"That's who he is," Alexander said via Bengals.com. "He's a first-ballot Hall-of-Famer. He's one of the best defensive players that I've seen in my 25 years. Big, strong, explosive, quick, reactive, football skills, you name it. He can accelerate, he can cover ground quickly, he has tremendous length, he has it all."

Cincinnati will host Watt and the Houston Texans on Monday Night in primetime.