The Pro Football Writers of America (PFWA) All-NFL Team for the 2020 season was announced on Monday and this year the Pittsburgh Steelers are represented by two defensive players in outside linebacker T.J. Watt and safety Minkah Fitzpatrick as both earned All-NFL and All-AFC honors.
Watt, who was voted the Steelers 2020 team MVP a few weeks ago, finished the regular season as the NFL’s leader in sacks, with 15, tackles for a loss with 23, and quarterback hits with 41. He became just the third player in the NFL to record at least 15 sacks, 23 tackles for loss and 40 quarterback hits in the last 15 seasons. Texans defensive end J.J. Watt (2012, 2014 and 2015), Watt’s older brother, and Los Angeles Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald (2018) also accomplished the feat and went on to win the NFL Defensive Player of the Year award in those years.
We’ll now have to wait a few a few more weeks to see if Watt will be the NFL’s Defensive Player of the Year award for 2020. He certainly made a strong case for it again this season. Watt, Donald, and Miami Dolphins cornerback Xavier Howard are the three primary candidates to win the award that will be announced during the NFL Honors Ceremony the night before the Super Bowl on Saturday, February 6.
Joining the Steelers outside linebacker on the All-NFL team for a second straight season is Fitzpatrick, a former first-round draft pick of the Dolphins who was acquired by Pittsburgh via a trade just a few weeks into the 2019 regular season. Fitzpatrick, who played in all 16 regular season games for the Steelers in 2020, registered 79 total tackles along with a forced fumble, a fumble recovery, and four interceptions, one of which he returned for a touchdown against the Cleveland Browns.
Watt and Fitzpatrick were both also first-team All-Pro selections in 2020. A year ago, Steelers defensive tackle Cameron Heyward was named a PFWA All-Pro along with Watt and Fitzpatrick. Additionally, Steelers wide receiver Diontae Johnson was named an All-AFC punt returner as a rookie in 2019. Neither Heyward nor Johnson made any of the PFWA All-NFL Teams in 2020.