Watt dominates memorable plays from NFL's 1st half

Any look at the most memorable plays in the NFL season so far could begin and end with a compilation of J.J. Watt's highlights.

Yes, the defensive end for the Houston Texans pretty much has provided enough fodder to fill any such list, from top to bottom.

Take your pick: Watt's blocked extra point in Week 1 against the Redskins. Or his touchdown catch after lining up as a tight end in Week 2 against the Raiders. Or his 80-yard interception return for a TD after tipping a pass to himself in Week 4 against the Bills. Or his 45-yard fumble return for a score in Week 6 against the Colts.

Or, most creative yet, Watt's post-sack pantomiming of a cell-phone selfie to send a message to rookie Titans quarterback Zach Mettenberger in Week 8. Watt then sent some pointed words Mettenberger's way: ''Their quarterback had posted a few selfies this week, including one before the game, and it's just kind of a reminder - this is the National Football League, not high school, so welcome to the show.''

Week after week, it's been Watt's show.

Here are some other plays this season worth remembering:

FAKE SPIKE: Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers took a page out of Dan Marino's playbook while facing the Hall of Famer's old team, using a fake spike on the drive that led to a go-ahead touchdown in Week 6 at Miami. On second-and-6 from Miami's 16, Rodgers shook his right hand, usually an indication that a QB is about to spike the football to stop the clock. But when the ball was snapped with 12 seconds left in the fourth quarter, Rodgers held on. Teammates helped sell the fake: slot receiver Jordy Nelson didn't move; offensive linemen stood up and stayed put. And Rodgers completed a 12-yard pass to Davante Adams, who got out of bounds. Rodgers then connected with Andrew Quarless for a touchdown. ''Yeah,'' Rodgers said that day, ''that was kind of some freestylin' right there.''

GRONK!: Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski's leaping, full-extension, one-handed, lefty grab of a pass from Tom Brady in Week 9 against the Broncos made perfectly clear that the man known as ''Gronk'' is back among the NFL's elite after a series of operations to his left forearm, his right knee and his back.

QB CATCH I: Cincinnati's Andy Dalton became the first NFL quarterback to be on the receiving end of a touchdown pass since 2008, corralling a toss from receiver Mohamed Sanu for an 18-yard catch and run in Week 3 against Tennessee.

QB CATCH II: That same day, 2012 Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel, Cleveland's backup QB, also caught a pass - as part of an even zanier trick play. After briefly replacing starter Brian Hoyer, Manziel wandered toward the Browns' sideline, pretending to argue with offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan while apparently on his way out of the game. But Manziel never left the field, and he raced along the sideline to haul in a pass from Hoyer for what would have been a 39-yard gain. Alas, it was wiped out by a penalty.

SMITH MAKES HIS POINT: In Week 4, Ravens receiver Steve Smith got a chance to face the team that let him go in the offseason, the Panthers, and the 35-year-old scored twice - including grabbing the ball in stride after it deflected off a teammate's hand, then racing in for a 61-yard TD.

RAMS' SPECIAL TEAMS ARE SPECIAL: St. Louis coach Jeff Fisher's punt unit came up with two gems in one game, a victory against Seattle in Week 7. First, usual returner Tavon Austin lured most of the Seahawks' coverage unit to his side of the field by pretending to track a punt. The ball headed toward the opposite side, where Stedman Bailey ran it back for a 90-yard touchdown. Then, facing fourth-and-3 from their 18 while ahead with about three minutes left, the Rams lined up to punt. But punter Johnny Hekker threw an 18-yard completion for a first down to Benny Cunningham that allowed St. Louis to run out the clock.

PEYTON'S RECORD: It wasn't the most spectacular play, but it merits mention nonetheless. In Week 7 against the 49ers, Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning - one play after ingloriously tripping over the foot of one of his linemen - connected with Demaryius Thomas from 8 yards for his record 509th NFL touchdown pass, one more than Brett Favre's previous record.

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Follow Howard Fendrich on Twitter at http://twitter.com/HowardFendrich

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Online:

AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and AP NFL Twitter feed: http://twitter.com/AP-NFL

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