T.J. Watt makes history in Steelers big win over the Ravens
By Tommy Jaggi
T.J. Watt is on a remarkable pace. Here are some of the legendary players the Steelers star joined after his impressive game against the Ravens.
If nothing else good comes from the 2021 season, at least we can say “my team has T.J. Watt and yours doesn’t” when arguing with fans around the league. Not only is T.J. Watt the consensus best player on the team, but he is also the most valuable asset the organization has moving forward.
Despite dealing with nagging injuries all season in addition to being placed on the COVID list and missing practices, Watt has been undeniably good. Of the 12 games Pittsburgh has played this year, Watt has missed two full contests, played just 16 snaps against the Raiders before leaving the game, and left the game early against the Lions.
Still, in just 8 full games and two partial games this season, T.J. Watt has compiled 16.0 sacks, 16 tackles for a loss, 4 forced fumbles, 2 fumble recoveries 4 pass defenses, and 26 quarterback hits, according to Pro Football Reference. His most recent game against the Baltimore Ravens in Week 13 was arguably the best of his NFL career.
With a dominant showing this week, Watt is already climbing into the record books. His 16.0 sack season ties him with James Harrison for the most sacks in a single season in Pittsburgh Steelers history:
With five games left on the 2021 season, Watt is sure to blow this number out of the water — assuming he stays healthy the rest of the way. He needs just 7 sacks over his final 5 games to own the NFL’s single-season sack title. Who would have thought he would have been in a situation like this after all of the time he has missed this year?
In addition to making some single-season history for the Steelers, Watt is entering the record books for another reason after beating up on the Ravens in Week 13. He has now become just the second player since 1982 to record 13 or more sacks in four consecutive seasons:
With this record, Watt joins the great Reggie White as the only player to have such dominant campaigns for seasons in a row. Many regard White as the best defensive player the NFL has ever seen, and it’s not hard to see why.
Can the Steelers star reach the NFL sack record this year?
There are many qualities that make T.J. Watt such an incredible pass rusher. He’s big, strong, athletic, and intelligent. He plays with a fire underneath him and treats each play like the game is on the line.
Already setting a new personal best with sacks this year, will Watt be able to top Michael Strahan for the NFL sack record? Since sacks became an official stat in 1982, no player has earned more in a season than former New York Giants legend, Michael Strahan with 22.5.
It’s remarkable that Watt is even within striking distance of doing so, considering the time he has missed. While I think that 20 sacks are quite attainable if Watt stays healthy, I think it’s very unlikely that he will break the sack record this year. In order to do so, Watt would need roughly 1.5 sacks per game from here on out.
Had he not missed two full games and left early in two others, I think this remarkable single-season accomplishment would have been well within reach.
Who knows. With another outstanding game this week against the Vikings, perhaps Watt can shoot for the stars, but breaking the all-time single-season sack record seems like a stretch this year. Regardless, Steelers fans have one of the best defensive players in the league and a future Hall of Famer we can really be proud of.