T.J. Watt has played in 49 games during his career as he begins his fourth season in the NFL. He has 37 sacks to date, after posting two and a half sacks on Sunday against the Denver Broncos, which is currently tied with Chase Young of the Washington Football Team for the most in the league.
25 of those 49 games have come at home, in Heinz Field. And he now has 25 sacks in those 25 games. He had five sacks in eight homes games as a rookie in 2017 out of his seven in total. A year later, he produced seven sacks eight homes games, and last year had 10.5. Add that to the 2.5 that he had in his first home game earlier this week, and that brings you up to 25 sacks in 25 games.
According to Michael Bertsch of the team’s media department, that is tied for the fourth-most sacks by any player in their first 25 home games, with Aldon Smith, behind Derrick Thomas (29), Dwight Freeney (27), and Reggie White (26.5).
LB T.J. Watt has 25.0 sacks in 25 career games at Heinz Field. He has collected at least half a sack in 14 of the last 15 home games, including 11 straight games. Only 3 players in NFL history have more sacks over their first 25 career home games…#BertschyBits#HereWeGo pic.twitter.com/ka7oYAIQ2p
— Michael Bertsch (@SteelersPRMike) September 22, 2020
That’s pretty good company. On the flip side, though, you could say that he ‘only’ has 12 sacks in 24 games on the road. That’s still one sack every other game played away from Heinz Field, which certainly isn’t bad, but it is exactly half of what he has been able to produce in front of his home crowd—or in front of no crowd.
In case you’re wondering, there are only six players in NFL history who have produced at least 37 sacks through their first three seasons, including the four previously mentioned, as well as Shawne Merriman and Richard Dent. White had an absolutely astronomical 52 sacks in his first 41 games, and of course finished his Hall of Fame career with 198. He had 70 sacks by the end of his fourth season. Only a few Steelers in their entire career produced that many.
What kind of trajectory is Watt on? In terms of team history, he just surpassed Kevin Green (in one more game) to move into ninth place in sacks. He’ll need seven more to match Aaron Smith at 44, and then it’s Greg Lloyd with 53.5 (and Cameron Heyward with 54.5).
Reaching those numbers this year are on the periphery of the realistic, but certainly not impossible. He does have the capacity to break James Harrison’s single-season 16-sack franchise record. He would need 17 more to finish with 19 to pass Lloyd in 2020.
If he keeps stacking sacks at home the way he has been over the past two years (13 in his past nine games at Heinz Field), he has a chance to put up those sorts of numbers. He has been one of the most dynamic pass-rushers in the NFL so far this season, to nobody’s surprise.