The Pittsburgh Steelers have recorded at least one sack in 68 consecutive games. It is a streak that is so long that it includes contributions from the likes of Jarvis Jones, Lawrence Timmons, and Ricardo Mathews, as well as Sean Spence, Ryan Shazier, Arthur Moats, and William Gay.
The streak began with a James Harrison sack in week nine of the 2016 season by James Harrison, with the latest coming from where, well, a large portion of them have come from—T.J. Watt. The fourth-year veteran, whose entire career spans the streak and who has played an integral role in keeping it alive, has recorded 45.5 of the team’s 228 sacks recorded over the 68-game span.
— Steelers Depot 🎄 (@Steelersdepot) December 5, 2020
And if they record one more tomorrow against the Washington Football Team, it would tie the Tampa Bay Buccaneers of 20-plus years ago for the longest sack streak in NFL history. Head coach Mike Tomlin was on Tony Dungy’s staff for some of that time.
Watt, however, said that he doesn’t think Tomlin has really discussed that, or the streak itself. “I’m not quite sure”, he told reporters yesterday. “We’ve never really talked in-depth about that stuff. I think we’re just trying to be the best team that we can possibly be. All that matters this week is getting the win”.
The Steelers have not just recorded a sack in every game in the past four seasons, they have recorded the most sacks during that span, and the most in every individual season (tying for the most in one year), topping at least 50 sacks in season year.
So far in 2020, they lead the NFL with 41 sacks, needing just nine over the course of the final five games—averaging fewer than two per game—to top 50 sacks for a fourth consecutive season. They currently have five more sacks than anyone else, in a two-way tie between the Washington Football Team—the upcoming opponent—and the Philadelphia Eagles.
As you would imagine, Watt is a central figure in this. He leads the entire NFL with 11 sacks. Bud Dupree, who unfortunately is now finished for the season, is second with eight, while Stephon Tuitt has seven. Vince Williams, Mike Hilton, and Cameron Heyward all have three, while Terrell Edmunds, Robert Spillane, Cameron Sutton, Alex Highsmith, Devin Bush, and Tyson Alualu have also contributed.
As for Washington, they have given up 35 sacks so far this season, averaging more than three per game, while the Steelers are averaging nearly four per game. The odds would favor them tying the record tomorrow, and they will likely break it against the Buffalo Bills, who have given up at least one sack in nine out of 11 games, with both of the games without sacks coming against poor to mediocre pass-rushing opponents.