You don’t need me to explain TJ Watt’s utter dominance over these past two seasons. At least, I hope you don’t. He could’ve won Defensive MVP in 2019 or 2020 and it’s a shame he doesn’t have at least one such trophy on his mantle. Few players have gotten after quarterbacks like he has.
Watt is the NFL leader in sacks over the past two seasons, recording 29.5 of them across 2019 and 2020. But it’s a close race with Shaq Barrett (27.5) Aaron Donald (26), and Za’Darius Smith (26) not far behind. There’s another pass-rush stat that has Watt head and shoulders above the field. QB hits. No one is even close to reaching the number Watt’s recorded since 2019.
Over the last two seasons, here are the leaders in QB hits, as credited by Pro Football Reference.
QB Hits (2019-2020)
1. TJ Watt – 77
2. Za’Darius Smith – 60
3. Joey Bosa – 58
T-4. Matt Judon – 54
T-4. Carl Lawson – 54
Watt has 17 more QB hits than his closest competition. For context, if you extrapolate Za’Darius Smith’s 60 hits over his 32 games (1.875 QB hits per game), he would need to play another 10 games to match Watt’s mark of 77. So second place would’ve needed to play more than half of a another season to reach what Watt’s done.
There are very few categories where Watt isn’t the leader in or right near the top spot. Tackles for loss? Watt’s first with 37. Forced fumbles? Tied for first with ten and the most of any front-seven defender in the game.
He’s truly on a Hall of Fame path similar, though still not quite as great, as his older brother. Since 2006, the only player who has more QB hits over their first four years than TJ Watt is JJ Watt. TJ has 111, JJ had an incredible 159.
Twenty years from now, I like the odds of both men having their busts enshrined together in Canton, Ohio.