Consistent. Dependable. Fierce. Relentless.
Those are four characteristics any NFL coach would want from a player, and they are just four of the many characteristics that linebacker T.J. Watt brings to the table.
Watt has been on fire all season, and once again was honored for his amazing play.
Watt was named the AFC Defensive Player of the Month for November, which included games in Weeks 8-12, a stretch where the Steelers went 5-0, including three AFC North wins, two over the Baltimore Ravens and one over the Cincinnati Bengals. It's the second time he won AFC Defensive Player of the Month honors this year, previously doing so in September.
"I think he's still writing that story," said Coach Mike Tomlin earlier this season. "He was pretty awesome a year ago to be quite honest with you. I know he has an intention of being continually better, so he's still writing that story. His talents are just a part of the equation. His hyper-focus, his attention to detail, his awareness I think all add up to big playmaking ability and splash plays for us."
Watt had 18 tackles, including 13 solo stops, five and a half sacks, 17 quarterback hits, and three pass defenses in November. He had two games with multiple sacks during the five-game stretch, including the Bengals and Ravens (Week 12) games when he had two each.
Watt, the team's No. 1 pick in 2017 NFL Draft, currently leads the NFL with 11 sacks (for a loss of 81.5 yards), while adding an amazing 33 quarterback hits and 17 tackles for a loss. He also has 39 tackles, including 30 solo stops, six pass defenses and an interception.
While Watt has amazing numbers, his main goal is just to win.
"We've said from the very start we want to make plays, we want to be great," said Watt. "We don't really care who makes the plays, as long as they are being made. This isn't a defense where you can really play out of your gap and try to do too much. That is why we are playing our best, because everybody is playing their gap and everybody is doing their job."
Since his arrival in Pittsburgh he has teamed with fellow outside linebacker Bud Dupree, but with Dupree now on the Reserve/Injured List, Tomlin was asked during his weekly press conference on Thursday if Watt will be able to play at the same level without Dupree.
Tomlin has no doubts he will.
"I don't think T.J. Watt gets assistance from anyone in terms of his quality of his play," said Tomlin. "T.J. makes his plays. I don't think that's going to be an issue at all. Guys like T.J. don't depend on anyone."
This is the third time Watt has won AFC Defensive Player of the Month honors. He won it once in 2019, and just so happened to do it in November as well.