If you followed the coverage leading up to the game, you might have thought that the only thing that was going to matter today was the fact that there would be three brothers on the field. That would be the three sons that make up the Watt clan, the Houston Texans bringing over big brother J.J., the Pittsburgh Steelers with Derek and T.J.
While Derek, the fullback, had to leave the game early due to a hamstring injury, T.J. held up his own on defense. Really, both of the defensive Watt brothers played very well for their respective units, even if J.J.’s wasn’t as evident on the stat sheet, but it was T.J., and the Steelers, who won on the day in the first Watt Bowl.
In all, T.J. finished the game credited with four tackles, among them a sack, and two total tackles for loss. His sack came at a key time in the fourth quarter just after the Steelers regained the lead, plastering Deshaun Watson for a loss of 11. And that was only one of his four quarterbacks hits on the day.
We will have to wait until later in the week to see if there will be a scoring change as well, as he and Bud Dupree cleaned up a sack that was initiated by pressure from Mike Hilton and then gotten into motion by Devin Bush. Bush and Dupree were credited as splitting the sack, butt I wouldn’t be surprised if it goes down as a Watt-Dupree split, which is what the broadcast initially mentioned.
Regardless of how that turns out, Watt now has at least three and a half sacks on the season, if not four. That may be good enough to retain his league lead through three games, but we’ll have to see how the day plays out. He entered week three tied with Washington rookie Chase Young with the lead at 2.5. Young left today’s game without recording a sack.
Over the course of the 2018-19 seasons, Watt posted 27.5 sacks, going to the Pro Bowl in both years. He is already looking like he should be making plans to head back there—though of course he’d rather not have to play. And there may not even be a Pro Bowl played this year.
One thing that he hasn’t yet done is force a strip sack, although he has been close a couple of times. He forced six fumbles in 2018 and then eight last year, really becoming a menace in that area, so it certainly feels as though it will only be a matter of time before he gets himself a couple of loose balls on the ground.