Watt's next?

Outside linebacker T.J. Watt almost won the Associated Press NFL Defensive Player of the Year Award in 2020 but wound up finishing a close second behind Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald, who became a three-time winner.

It wasn't due to the lack of a compelling argument on Watt's part.

The close nature of the vote, 27-20 in Donald's favor, confirms Watt was deep in the conversation, even if he ultimately had to settle for leading the NFL in sacks (15), in tackles for a loss (23) and in quarterback hits (41), and for being named a first-team AP All-Pro for the second consecutive season.

Following is a look back at some of Watt's most memorable moments in the 2020 regular season:

Sept. 14: Giant Steps

Instead of attacking the passer Watt retreated, instinctively rather than by design, on first-and-10 from the Giants' 35-yard line early in the second quarter of the regular-season opener. His interception of quarterback Daniel Jones set the Steelers up at the New York 36, from where their first touchdown drive of the season ensued.

"I was flat-footed trying to play the run," Watt explained. "As I was transitioning to my pass rush, I saw the quarterback kinda looking my way so I kinda dropped back instead of rushing.

"The ball came my way and I picked it off."

Sept. 20: Bronco Busting

Watt had 2.5 of the Steelers' season-high seven sacks in Week Two. It was the first of four multi-sack games authored by Watt in 2020, which ran his career totals to 12 games with at least 1.5 sacks and 10 with two or more in 62 career regular-season appearances (all starts).

Watt's second sack against Denver occurred on first-and-goal from the Pittsburgh 4 with 8:50 left in the third quarter and helped force the Broncos to kick a field goal that only brought them to within 17-6 in a game the Steelers would ultimately win. 26-21.

Nov. 15: Oh, Brother

Watt's two sacks of Bengals rookie quarterback Joe Burrow in Week 10 upped Watt's career total to 43.5 through his first 56 regular-season games. That tied Watt for eighth in NFL history in that department and matched the 43.5 his brother, J.J. Watt, produced in his first 56 NFL regular-season games. T.J. Watt added four solo tackles, four quarterback hits and two tackles for a loss against Cincinnati.

Oct. 25: Join The Club

Watt's sack against the Titans in Week Seven made him one of nine players in Steelers history to amass at least 40 sacks in their Steelers career since sacks became an official statistic in 1982. He also had a season-high four solo tackles (tied) and a pass defensed against Tennessee.

Dec. 27: Finishing Strong

Watt was held out of the regular-season finale at Cleveland, but the two sacks he registered in Week 16 against Indianapolis were significant for a couple of reasons. They upped his total on the season to 15, held up as the league-leading figure in 2020, tied for the second-most sacks in a single season in Steelers' history and also made Watt the first player in franchise history with multiple seasons of at least 14 sacks (he had 14.5 in 2019). His 49.5 career sacks are the most in Steelers' history over a player's first four seasons.

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