By Adam Spolane

HOUSTON (SportsRadio 610)- Without J.J. Watt and Whitney Mercilus for the rest of the season, someone on the Texans defense was going to have to step up. In Sunday’s 33-17 win at NRG Stadium over the Cleveland Browns, it was Johnathan Jospeh, and the veteran impressed his teammates.

“Out here running’ around like he’s 21 still,” Texans cornerback Kareem Jackson said.

Early in the second quarter with the Texans leading 10-3, Cleveland was on the march, just outside the red zone, when Joseph intercepted Browns’ quarterback Kevin Hogan along the sideline and returned it 82 yards for a touchdown, and he intercepted Hogan again towards the end of the first half.

“It definitely lit a spark for us today as a team,” Jackson said. “He always makes some huge plays throughout his career. That’s just what he does. He’s a high energy guy, definitely a leader in this locker room, and on the field, he goes out and he gives his all every time.”

Joseph added two tackles, an assist and three pass breakups to his line on Sunday, and the two intercetions give him 14 since joining the Texans, passing Dunta Robinson for the most in franchise history, but the fact that he’s still getting it done at the age of 33 in his 12th NFL season impresses impresses Texans nose tackle D.J. Reader.

“J-Jo is a freak,” he declared “It’s just crazy, (Joseph) knows exactly what’s going to be run most of the time, it’s the craziest thing. His feet are so quick, and he does a good job of getting out of his breaks.”

Reader had an explanation when asked how after all these years Joseph is still able to play at such a high level.

“(Watching) film, knowing the game, he sees it all. He does a great job of preparing himself. He’s a competitor, he’s an ultimate competitor, so he’s going to go out there every week and challenge guys. That’s what you can appreciate about J-Jo, he knows about everything that is going on, and he’s going to go out there every week and compete with somebody.”