You don't often find players like T.J. Watt, and at this stage in his career, we are starting to run out of kind things to say about him that haven't already been said. The Pittsburgh Steelers star and former 2021 Defensive Player of the Year looks as healthy as ever and has had a remarkably productive start to the 2023 season.
Surprisingly, Watt hasn't earned a Defensive Player of the Week honor yet in 2023 despite being the most productive pass rusher in football entering Week 4. Though his first three games, Watt has raked in 6.0 sacks, 5 tackles for a loss, 12 QB hits, 2 forced fumbles, and a defensive touchdown, per Pro Football Reference.
Largely as a result of his dominant play -- and aided by fellow pass rusher, Alex Highsmith -- the Steelers have strung together back-to-back wins. Now Watt is finally earning the recognition he deserves after an incredibly strong start to the season.
On Thursday, the All-Pro edge defender was officially named the AFC Defensive Player of the Month for his outstanding September this year. According to Teresa Varley of Steelers.com, Watt becomes the first player since 1982 to record 6.0 sacks and register a touchdown in the first three games of a season.
T.J. Watt is familiar with prestigious personal accolades
In Week 2 against the Browns, Watt broke the Pittsburgh Steelers all-time sack record -- surpassing James Harrison with 81.5 sacks. He has since brought that number up to 83.5 just one game later... and he's nowhere near finished.
This is now the fourth time Watt has earned AFC Defensive Player of the Month honors. With 176 defensive starters at all times in the AFC, this is an honor that most players can only dream about. Yet, it's a drop in the bucket for a player who is a three-time First-Team All-Pro player, five-time Pro Bowler, and former DPOY.
Watt is far from done assembling his Hall of Fame resume. This is the most productive start to a season that the veteran has seen so far in his seven-year NFL career. He's currently on the pace for a whopping 34.0 sacks in 2023. We know that it will be impossible to keep things going at this rate in terms of sack production, but if he can stay healthy, he will have a chance to break his own single-season sack record (tied with Michael Strahan) of 22.5 in one season.
Watt has made it abundantly clear that the ultimate goal is a Super Bowl win, and Steelers fans can certainly get behind that. Now it's time to continue this dominant performance against the Texans and build on this min-winning streak.