Steelers News

La’el Collins Takes Shot At T.J. Watt, Says He ‘Was Crying To The Refs’

The Pittsburgh Steelers have had outside linebacker T.J. Watt back for two games now since his early pectoral injury that sidelined him for two months. He did manage to split a sack tonight, but overall, from a pass-rush standpoint, one can say that he has not exactly been up to his own standards just yet.

And if you hear Cincinnati Bengals right tackle La’el Collins tell it, it’s getting to him. Or Collins thinks he’s getting to him. The former Dallas Cowboy sure had a lot to say about the reigning Defensive Player of the Year following the Bengals’ 37-30 win.

“T.J. knew he had to line up against me”, he said after the game, via Mohammad Ahmad of Cleveland.com. “Shit, at the end of the day, he was crying to the refs. I’ll see him again next year”.

A former Pro Bowler, Collins signed this offseason with the Bengals. The Steelers defense got the better of the rebuilt offensive line in Cincinnati in the opener, but the unit collectively has grown a lot since then. They projected quarterback Joe Burrow better in Pittsburgh than they had been.

While it wasn’t Watt’s best game of the season, it certainly wasn’t a banner day for Collins, either. Watt had his share of wins, but it was a long day for the entire front seven actually getting home, as Burrow was largely getting the ball out quickly, finding open receivers in Tee Higgins in particular or finding his checkdowns, most notably running back Samaje Perine.

Personally speaking, I don’t recall seeing any moments during the broadcast where Watt was complaining to the officials, but it’s possible I missed something or that something occurred off-camera. I do recall one play that made me wonder if a holding call on Collins should have been called that wasn’t.

It’s worth noting that Collins isn’t the first Bengals right tackle to call into question Watt’s greatness. Bobby Hart was caught doing the same thing a few years ago. For the rest of his time in Cincinnati, he served as Watt’s hat when the two teams played one another.

One thing I don’t doubt is that Watt was frustrated tonight. After all, they gave up 37 points and over 400 yards, and they lost the game. That’s more than enough in Watt’s book to qualify as a complete failure. He’s the kind of player who expects to get a sack or tackle for loss on every play.

It’s probably lucky for Collins that the Steelers and Bengals don’t play again this year, barring the unlikely event that they should meet in the postseason. I’m sure in some way, shape, or form, Watt will be informed of what was said. Not that he needs any added motivation.

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