Linebacker T.J. Watt has tied Hall of Famer Michael Strahan's NFL single-season record with 22.5 sacks following his sack of Ravens' quarterback Tyler Huntley late in the second quarter for a three-yard loss.
Strahan set the record in 2001, a record that stood for 20 years, and Watt tied it while missing two games this season due to injuries, plus a good portion of a third game.
Watt had four sacks last week against the Cleveland Browns on Monday Night Football to close in on the record, and was named AFC Defensive Player of the Week for his efforts.
Today he tied the record against another AFC North foe.
Watt is one of only two players in NFL history to have 20 plus sacks in 14 or fewer games since sacks became an official statistic in 1982. The only other one to do it was the legendary Reggie White, who had 21 sacks in 12 games in 1987 in a strike-shortened season.
Watt also became the 12th player since sacks were counted as a statistic to have at least 20 sacks in a single season, something his brother, Arizona Cardinals defensive end J.J. Watt, did twice.
Watt, who has 72 career sacks, also joined White and his brother, J.J. Watt, as the only players since 1982 to have 70 plus sacks in their first five seasons in the NFL.
Watt set a new Steelers single-season sack record earlier this season when he surpassed the record set by linebacker James Harrison in 2008 when he had 16 sacks.
"It's all about tradition here and to be able to put your footprint in as part of the tradition here is special," said Watt. "I know it's an individual goal. I'm not big on individual achievements. But doing this with such a wonderful group of guys is what it's all about. To be able to be a part of this franchise hopefully for a long time, this is very special. But I really do have more work to do."
Watt has recorded at least half a sack in 11 games this season and has eight games with multiple sacks.
Watt was voted the Steelers MVP earlier this week, becoming the first player in team history to win it three consecutive years.
Steelers LB T.J. Watt tied the NFL's single season sack record during the 2021 season
Watt is a football junkie, always studying the game, studying ways he can improve, and watching film endlessly to get that edge on the next guy because it's what he loves.
"Just being a fan of the game, loving football and trying to find any ways to get an edge," said Watt. "I think that's the most important thing at this level. Every single guy is watching film. Every single guy is practicing hard and thinks they're trying the hardest. There really can only be one person that is watching film the most, the best, most efficient way possible. There's a difference between just clicking through plays and actually watching plays with a purpose. I'm just trying to continue to get better at having a purpose when I watch film and trying to pick up on little things that will give me an edge."