While the vast majority of the attention over the course of the next, probably, several days will be on the assault committed by Cleveland Browns defensive end Myles Garrett, there was still about 59 minutes and 46 seconds of football played. And in spite of the 21-7 loss, it included another great game by T.J. Watt, who with his sack moved into third place in that statistic in the league.
It was actually an ‘off’ night for Watt, who had registered multiple sacks in three consecutive games leading up to last night’s for the Pittsburgh Steelers, but that sack did push him into double digits, now with 10.5 on the season. The league leaders are Chandler Jones and Shaquil Barrett, both with 11.5. Ironically, he just passed Garrett, who may not have another chance to record a sack in 2019.
Following a season a year ago in which he recorded 13 sacks, Watt is now on pace to finish the year with 16 or more, which would break James Harrison’s single season franchise sack record if he can register six more over the final six games.
Watt also became the first Steelers defender to register double-digit sacks in consecutive seasons since the pairing of Harrison and LaMarr Woodley both accomplished that feat simultaneously in three straight years from 2008 through the 2010 season.
Through 41 games played, Watt, the Steelers’ first-round pick, now has 30 and a half sacks in his career, which is certainly not bad at all. He is the first Steelers player to ever record 30 or more sacks within his first three seasons. Woodley previous owned the most sacks in a player’s first three season for the team with 29, doing so in 44 games.
Watt, of course, still has six more games to add to his sack total, who now has at least half a sack in seven consecutive games going back to the Week Four win over the Cincinnati Bengals. He has recorded at least half a sack in eight of the 10 games the Steelers have played so far. Last season, he only recorded a sack in eight of 16 games.
He may have only registered one sack, but Watt was very active throughout the night, frequently gaining pressure and chasing Baker Mayfield out of the pocket. He is being credited with two quarterback hits, and he had numerous hurries. He also got a hand on Mayfield’s arm to force an incompletion.
Watt has been on a tear especially since the bye week, and he even left this game early, favoring his hip, but ultimately did not miss a play. He has absolutely been one of the catalysts of the Steelers’ defensive turnaround, but last night, obviously, it wasn’t enough.