It’s worth repeating, a thousand times over, how good Stephon Tuitt was in 2020. A season finally not marred by injury, he picked up where he left off in 2019 and turned in a career year. Playing in 15 games, he had season bests with 11 sacks, 10 TFL, and 25 QB hits. He and Cam Heyward made up arguably the most dangerous duo of interior rushes in football.
And statistically, the only interior rusher more successful than Tuitt was future Hall of Famer Aaron Donald. NextGenStats compiled together the best “disruption rates” of 2020. We shared it on Instagram and now we’re sharing it here. Tuitt came in second in the NFL at 14.1% percent, a little more than a point behind Donald. They were the only two to be above 14%.
According to our defensive charting, Tuitt led the Steelers’ defensive line with 33 pressures, one more than Heyward. Tuitt also had a slightly better snap-per-pressure rating, edging Heyward out 14.4 to 15.1.
Tuitt’s talent has always been obvious. For such a big guy, he’s an incredible athlete, with great hips and hand use. He was on his way to a career year in 2019, the most unstoppable player on a great Steelers’ defense, but tore his pec early in the Steelers’ Week 6 win over the Los Angeles Chargers, ending his season.
But like Heyward, who suffered the same injury years ago, Tuitt rehabbed and returned better than ever. It was great to see him have the chance to put together a complete season and quiet the complaints about him not living up to the $60 million contract he inked right before the 2017 season.
Tuitt will need to have another strong season in 2021. He’ll be counted on to provide a pass rush weakened by the loss of Bud Dupree and a team whose secondary probably won’t be as good as they were the last two years with Mike Hilton and – likely – Steven Nelson no longer apart of it. Tuitt’s also part of a defense searching for its fifth straight season of 50+ sacks, which would tie an NFL record if they accomplish it.