Re-thinking Watt's possible

After further review …

It was a question I never thought I'd ask because I know better, at least I thought I did.

"Can you make this kind of impact every week?"

T.J. Watt's response was as revealing as Monday night's 26-22 victory over Cleveland was remarkable given how the game had played out.

"I'm gonna fuel up and we're gonna try," Watt offered. "We're gonna see what we can do in a week."

Don't put it past him.

The scoop-and-score, game-winning touchdown that beat Cleveland was the exclamation point on another performance that for Watt turned out to be spectacularly typical.

He credited fellow game-wrecker Alex Highsmith for doing the heavy lifting on the play. But Watt's stat line also included a sack, two tackles for a loss, four quarterback hits and a pass defensed.

This after an opener against San Francisco that produced three sacks, a TFL, five hits on the QB, a pass defensed, two forced fumbles and a fumble recovery.

The exclamation point back on Sept. 10 had been a sack, strip and fumble recovery late in the third quarter with the Steelers trailing by 20 and seemingly dead in the water.

Watt tried to will them back into the game with the type of Herculean play that might have changed the game had the offense been able to take advantage of the field position it provided.

For an encore, he helped will the Steelers to victory against Cleveland by returning the fumble forced by Highsmith 16 yards into the end zone with the Steelers trailing, 22-19, in the fourth quarter.

"Thankfully, I didn't dive on it," Watt offered.

Whatever it takes.

"This defensive performance, it's not always gonna be one guy performing at an elite level," Watt continued. "There's gonna be chips one week. There's gonna be slides (in protection) one week.

"We just all have to do our job and the plays are there to be made."

That, at least, is how it traditionally works, even for All-Pros, former Defensive Player of the Year Award winners and franchise record-holders for all-time sacks.

Everybody gets blocked by somebody eventually, don't they?

Except Watt seemingly hasn't been this season.

Not when he's had a chance to really impact what ultimately happens.

Watt was so good against Cleveland he was too good for his own good in at least once instance.

The cut-back, 69-yard burst by running back Jerome Ford to the Steelers' 1-yard line early in the third quarter resulted initially from Watt shoving tight end Harrison Bryant 2 yards off the ball and into the way on what was supposed to be an outside-zone run to the right.

PennDOT couldn't have shut that lane down any more effectively.

Ford ran right into Bryant's back and had no choice but to reverse field.

The job didn't get done in terms of pursuing from the back side well enough to take the cut-back away.

Two plays later the Browns regained the lead but Watt was not deterred.

Is he ever?

"When your back is against the wall, man, you have two options," Watt maintained. "We want to be a team that fights back, especially as a defense.

"We want to be a defense that controls the outcomes of games."

Watt's doing his part.

Well enough to at least reconsider the impact he's capable of making on an every-game basis.