T.J. Watt ties NFL single-season sack mark: Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger had a message for the NFL as he leaned against the white cinderblock wall in the visitor’s media room after beating the Baltimore Ravens 16-13 in overtime.
As he took the podium to replace outside linebacker T.J. Watt, Roethlisberger joked, “Give him half a sack.” “It’s time to start the petition.”
Watt had tied Michael Strahan’s NFL single-season sack record with 23 seconds left in the first half just a few hours before. Watt was on the verge of having at least one more, putting him in sole possession of the record.
T.J. Watt ties NFL single-season sack mark
Watt remarked, tying the record, “I’m not sure if any of this has reached me.” “It’s not just about me. It takes a lot of other people, including excellent players, coaches, and schemes, as well as a lot of selfless men in the locker room, to allow me to create plays. As a result, that record isn’t solely mine.”
In what was likely Roethlisberger’s final regular-season game as a Steeler quarterback, the win kept the Steelers’ postseason aspirations alive. The Steelers qualified for the playoffs as the No. 7 seed following the Jacksonville Jaguars’ shock of the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday night. In a walk-off triumph, the Las Vegas Raiders beat the Los Angeles Chargers 35-32 in overtime. The Steelers would have been eliminated if the Raiders and Chargers had tied.
“If you give us a chance, we still have a pulse,” Watt said before Sunday’s game. “Anything can happen to bring us into the dance, and that’s where we are right now. As a result, [we’re] more hungry than ever. We want to keep playing football and making plays. Many of the guys there are eager to get into the facility tomorrow, watch some tape, and get started.”
Watt not only had the game’s first sack, but he also had three quarterback hits, a tackle for loss, a batted ball, and a forced fumble while being doubled for most of the game.
Watt’s lone sack came with 23 seconds left in the first half, when he went around the edge, beat Ravens tight end Eric Tomlinson and left tackle David Sharpe, and brought down quarterback Tyler Huntley for a three-yard loss at the goal line.
Before the next play, he hugged and high-fived his teammates on the field. Watt had two near-sack opportunities before the official sack. He looked to bag Huntley and caused a fumble on the first play, as Huntley rushed to recover from a botched snap. However, the Ravens’ official scorer called the play a forced fumble.
Watt wrapped up Huntley late in the second quarter and pulled him down with the help of Cam Heyward. However, Heyward was called for unnecessary roughness, and the half-sack was ruled out.
Heyward remarked, “I couldn’t be more excited for that dude.” “I could tell he was worried at the start of the game. You just want e a guy thrive as a team. I’m sure T.J. will tell you that he can’t break the sack record without the support of a bunch of other men.
Wormley, Wor numerous things contribute to this. That, too, necessitates extensive attention. I’ve never seen somebody break a record like that, and I’ve never seen anyone break a record like that in the NFL. It’s extra special to watch it happen with the Pittsburgh Steelers.”
Despite missing two games and nearly half of a third | T.J. Watt ties NFL single-season sack mark
Watt equaled Strahan’s 2001 total. In 16 games, Strahan set the record. Watt has overcome various injuries to get to this stage, including a chronic groin problem and hip and knee injuries incurred on a sack of Jared Goff against the Detroit Lions.
Watt, who was chosen the Steelers’ MVP for the third consecutive season by his teammates, enters Sunday’s regular-season finale one sack shy of the record after sacking Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield four times on Monday night.
Watt, 27, inked a four-year, $112 million agreement with the Steelers just before the season, making him the NFL’s highest-paid defensive player and solidifying his standing as one of the league’s best players. Despite becoming a target of opponents’ pass defense, he remains one of the league’s most disruptive and dominant players.
Watt had a sack on 6.1 percent of his pass rushes through Week 17, the highest single-season sack rate in the Next Gen Stats history. When lined up as an edge defender, he has the third-highest pass rush victory percentage in the NFL, defeating his block within 2.5 seconds 25% of the time. Only Myles Garrett (28%) and Josh Sweat (26%), both on edge, have more excellent pass rush victory rates this season. Watt also has three fumble recoveries and four forced fumbles.
Watt missed a week of practice earlier this season after testing positive for COVID-19, but he returned to record 3.5 sacks against Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson. He also rushed Jackson’s unsuccessful throw attempt on a game-winning 2-point conversion try, allowing the Steelers to win 20-19.
Watt ran laps around the trees in his backyard to prepare for the game while isolated.