Pittsburgh Steelers’ outside linebacker T.J. Watt has come a very long way. From being a athletic and raw pass rusher just a few years ago, Watt has become one of the most feared pass rushers in the game. Actually, the former first round pick has become much more than just a feared pass rusher, he has become a historic pass rusher as his 2019 season was a historic one for the Steelers.
Watt set or neared many franchise records with his production this season. He recorded his eighth forced fumble of the season, a franchise record and also sacked an opposing quarterback 14.5 times, nearly missing James Harrison’s franchise record. But coming from a football family, Watt has not only managed to ink his name permanently in the Steelers’ record books but he has also casted his own shadow in a family that also includes J.J. Watt.
Part of what makes the older Watt brother so good is not just his ability to get to the quarterback but the consistency in which he has been able to do so. Well now, the younger Watt brother has matched his older brother in the consistency department. The Steelers’ pass rusher joins J.J. Watt as one of only six pass rushers to record at least one quarterback hit in all 16 of their team’s games.
Players Who Have Recorded A QB Hit In All 16 Of Their Team’s Games:
Ezekiel Ansah (2015)
Myles Garrett (2018)
DeMarcus Ware (2012)
J.J. Watt (2012,2013)
Muhammed Wilkerson (2015)
T.J. Watt (2019)
Watt has made sure quarterbacks have woken up with a few aches and pains this year as he consistently has found his way into the pocket. One criticism often heard about some pass rushers is that they beat up on bad tackles and are vulnerable to being streaky. No one is talking about Watt in that sense. No matter what offensive line laid in front of him, no matter how big or strong the tackle across from him was, the third-year pass rusher would always find a way to beat them.
Now, Watt was not just consistent at hitting quarterbacks either, he was also very consistent at bringing them down for sacks. In fact, he was more consistent at sacking quarterbacks this season than his older brother had been at any point of his career. The 25-year old pass rusher recorded 14.5 sacks this season and he paced himself right to the finish. With at least half a sack in 13 games this season, Watt joined a very elite club of pass rushers.
Most Games With At Least 0.5 Sacks:
DeMarcus Ware – 14 (2008)
T.J. Watt – 13 (2019)
*Six others tied at 13*
While the 2019 season did not end as the Steelers had hoped, Watt’s rise into an elite group of pass rushers was one of the more entertaining themes of the season. His consistency for finding the football or the quarterback became a staple of Steelers’ football and it may not even be a stretch to say that Watt was the biggest source of offense for this team at times.
Watt wrote his name into the record books this year but do not put the pen down because something tells me that this year will not be the last time that the Steelers’ pass rusher plays at this historic rate.