T.J. Watt Earns Another Big Honor During Record-Setting Season

By Jason Hall

January 5, 2022

Cleveland Browns v Pittsburgh Steelers
Photo: Getty Images

Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker T.J. Watt has added even more credibility to his candidacy for NFL Defensive Player of the Year.

Sports Illustrated reports Watt has been named as the AFC Defensive Player of the Week for the third time during the 2021 NFL season after a four-sack performance in the Steelers' 26-14 win against the Cleveland Browns on Monday Night Football in Week 17.

Watt's four sacks on Monday (January 3) tied Joey Porter's single-game franchise record set against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2001 and puts him one sack behind Michael Strahan's NFL single-season sack record of 22.5, joining Strahan and 11 others, including his brother, J.J. Watt, in the NFL's 20-sack season club.

"The first year or two, I used to do big individual goals, 'X' amount of sacks, TFLs (tackles for loss), all that stuff," Watt said after Monday's win via Sports Illustrated. "But it adds too much pressure. You start chasing and all that stuff. And now it's just trying to affect every game the best that I can and prepare. It's been working for me. So, I'm not really looking at goals like that anymore, just trying to be a game-wrecker."

Watt has now been named AFC Defensive Player of the Week six times during his five-year NFL career.

Last month, the 27-year-old joined recent Pro Football Hall of Fame inductee Troy Polamalu as the only Steelers players to receive the honor five times.

At the time, Watt had surpassed James Harrison's franchise single-season sack record of 16 after recording 3.5 sacks, six tackles and one tackle for loss during Pittsburgh's December 5 victory against the Baltimore Ravens.

Watt has since added 1.5 sacks during the Steelers' December 19 win against the Tennessee Titans and the four additional sacks on Monday night.

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