So, J.J. Watt isn't leading the league in Defeats again this year. Lavonte David is instead. And Watt isn't getting as much attention playing on a 2-12 team as he did a year ago playing on a playoff team. But he's still having a phenomenal year, worthy of consideration for Defensive Player of the Year.
While most of Watt's stats can't match the amazing numbers he put up in 2012, he has dominated the league in one metric: Quarterback Hits. I went through and updated our count of quarterback hits, not including sacks but including plays cancelled by penalty. Watt is lapping the field. In fact, he's once again having a record-setting year. Watt has 32 hits, a dozen more than second-place Robert Quinn (another Defensive Player of the Year candidate, by the way). Watt's total has already set a record. OK, it's not a mind-blowing record since our count of QB hits only goes back to 2006, but the previous record was 29 QB hits by Dwight Freeney in 2009.
Most QB Hits, Weeks 1-15 2013
A couple of things you should know about these numbers:
1) A quarterback hit is defined as a play where the quarterback is knocked to the ground after the pass. A play where a defender makes contact with the quarterback but doesn't knock him over doesn't count as a QB hit.
2) We include plays cancelled by penalty in our count of QB hits, since if you get smacked to the ground on a roughing the passer it hurts just as much as if you get smacked to the ground on a legal play.
3) Unfortunately, QB hits are marked very inconsistently by official scorers from stadium to stadium. For example, if you combine both their offense and defense, the Raiders have only 14 QB hits at home but 45 on the road, which is a bit ridiculous. On the other hand, Cleveland has 72 at home and 42 on the road -- again, this is combining both sides of the ball, so it doesn't have anything to do with home-field advantage. The moral of the story is that we tend to make a lot of recommendations to the NFL to change QB hit data once the season is over and we've reviewed our charting, so these numbers are far from final.
I'll run numbers from the other side, for quarterbacks, later this week.