Positive takeaway: T.J. Watt is back and as dominant as ever
The lone bright spot from Pittsburgh's embarrassing loss was T.J. Watt. The Steelers gravely missed Watt's dominance in 2022 and ultimately missed the playoffs partly because of his absence. If you only glanced at Watt's stats in the box score you'd probably think the game was much closer than a 23-point difference.
With Cam Heyward sitting out much of the game due to an injury sustained early, the Steelers needed all they could get from their All-Pro edge rusher. The 2021 Defensive Player of the Year did everything he could, but it wasn't enough to keep the 49ers out of the endzone. Watt finished another masterclass week 1 performance with three sacks, two forced fumbles, and a pass deflection at the line of scrimmage.
Watt looks to be back to his former self, which is encouraging news for the Pittsburgh Steelers. By the conclusion of the early slate of games, Watt was tied for most sacks in the league with the 49ers Drake Jackson and the Jaguars Josh Allen.
It seems safe to say T.J. Watt is fully healthy and will be back to wreaking havoc on offensive lines every week. Watt should easily factor into the Defensive Player of the Year conversation again in 2023.