T.J. Watt wins AFC Defensive Player of the Month for the second time in 2020
The Steelers might just have the most consistent defender in the NFL. Here’s why T.J. Watt has won Defensive Player of the month again.
Is there a player in football on either side of the ball that is more consistent from game to game than T.J. Watt? After having a phenomenal breakout All-Pro season in 2019, the Steelers star defender has remarkably taken another noticeable leap forward. Now, he’s the frontrunner to win the Defensive Player of the Year award after the 2020 season, according to Draft Kings Sportsbook.
As if we needed any more confirmation of how good T.J. Watt really is, the fourth-year edge defender has just earned AFC Defensive Player of the Month honors for the second time in three months of play this season (the first was in September). Considering that there are 175 other starting defenders in the AFC, I’d say that’s pretty impressive to earn this honor not once, but twice in 2020:
This comes after a brilliant stretch of 5 games in November that saw Watt record 18 tackles, 5.5 sacks, 17 quarterback hits, 3 pass defenses, and a whopping 20 pressures. His most recent game against the Baltimore Ravens was arguably the best of the season so far, as he racked up 6 tackles 2.0 sacks, 3 tackles for a loss, and 3 quarterback hits.
Why the Steelers star has been the best in the league
It’s certainly hard to make the case for anyone else earning Defensive Player of the Year honors if things continue at this rate. While Aaron Donald will go down as one of the best defensive linemen in the history of the league, Watt has outpaced him in every major statistical category this year, including sacks, tackles for loss, and quarterback hits. In addition, Watt even has a higher pass-rush win rate, according to Next Gen Stats:
With just five games remaining in the 2020 season, Watt has an excellent shot at securing Defensive Player of the Year honors, assuming he can stay healthy. However, with Bud Dupree no longer working on the opposite side of him due to an ACL tear, Watt could be seeing more double teams shift his direction. Still, he is clearly one of the best players in the league and I’m confident he will find a way to win regardless.
While most players can only ever dream of receiving AFC Defensive Player of the Month honors just once in their lifetime, Watt has already done so twice in three months this year. He truly is a remarkable difference-maker heading down a Hall-of-Fame path.