If there is one thing that the Pittsburgh Steelers have become known for throughout the history of their franchise it is some vaunted defenses. The franchise’s backbone has always been a strong defensive unit and that holds true for the current team.
Pittsburgh made the postseason in 2022 because of its defensive performance. The offense wasn’t very explosive, but the defense did its job. One of the reasons they have been so successful is the presence of T.J. Watt.
Watt has turned into one of the most feared pass rushers in the NFL. Some people questioned if he was worth the contract extension that the Steelers gave him, but he proved he was worth every penny during the 2021 season.
Watt led the league with 22.5 sacks, tying the record that is held by Michael Strahan. He won the Defensive Player of the Year award, adding seven passes defended, five forced fumbles, three fumble recoveries, 64 total tackles and 21 tackles for loss, which also led the league.
Being a playmaker and getting into the opposing backfield in that manner is nothing new for Watt. He led the league in sacks and tackles for loss in 2020 as well with 15 and 23. His activity at the line of scrimmage leads to passes being batted down as well.
One of the premier pass rushers in the NFL, Watt wrecks havoc every week. Just how dominant has he been in recent years? According to PFF, Watt leads the NFL in quarterback hits since 2018.
Being four ahead of the second-place player in Matthew Judon and seven ahead of Aaron Donald, whom many believe to be the best defensive player in the NFL, is an impressive feat for Watt.
Expect more of the same from the four-time Pro Bowler and three-time All-Pro team member in 2022. Entering his age-28 season, there is still plenty of pass-rushing juice left for Watt as he enters the prime of his career.