Steelers T.J. Watt sets new franchise sack record against Browns
T.J. Watt breaks James Harrison's franchise career sack record during Monday night matchup against the Browns.
In a remarkable display of skill and determination, T.J. Watt has solidified his place in Steelers history. During the Monday night game against the Browns, Watt, the 2021 NFL Defensive Player of the Year, surpassed James Harrison's franchise career sack record. It was a moment that will forever be etched in the annals of Steelers lore.
With just over a minute remaining in the first half, Watt brought down Deshaun Watson, marking his 81.5th career sack. This achievement surpassed Harrison's previous record of 80.5 sacks, earned over his illustrious 14-year tenure with the Steelers. Interestingly, Harrison had set the franchise mark against the Browns back in Week 11 of the 2016 season, adding an intriguing twist to the story.
As a result of this monumental feat, Watt now stands atop the list of the Steelers' all-time career sack leaders. His name is now synonymous with greatness in the storied history of the franchise. The following is a comprehensive list of the Steelers' top career sack leaders:
1. T.J. Watt (2017-present): 81.5 sacks
2. James Harrison (2002, 2004-12, 2014-17): 80.5 sacks
3. Cam Heyward (2011-present): 78.5 sacks
4. L.C. Greenwood (1969-81): 78 sacks
5. Joe Greene (1969-81): 77.5 sacks
6. Jason Gildon (1994-03): 77 sacks
Notably, Watt and Harrison are joined by a select group of Steelers players who have earned the prestigious title of Defensive Player of the Year. Joe Greene (1972 and '74), Mel Blount (1975), Jack Lambert (1976), Rod Woodson (1993), and Troy Polamalu (2010) have all shared in this honor. Watt, in particular, achieved this accolade after tying Michael Strahan's NFL single-season record of 22.5 sacks.
The significance of Watt's accomplishment is not lost on his older brother, JJ Watt, who currently serves as an analyst for the NFL Today on CBS. JJ expressed his admiration for T.J.'s talent and recognized the magnitude of his record-breaking sack.
This season has been a standout one for T.J. Watt. In Week 1, he showcased his prowess by tallying three sacks, two forced fumbles, and a fumble recovery in the Steelers' game against the 49ers. Despite the team's loss, Watt's performance was a shining beacon. It was during this game that he tied Harrison's record with his third sack of 49ers quarterback Brock Purdy. Harrison himself took to social media to congratulate his former teammate on this achievement.
While Watt has now cemented his status as the Steelers' official sack king, his ultimate goal in the NFL goes beyond personal records. He aspires to emulate Harrison's success by lifting the Vince Lombardi Trophy not once, but twice in his career. However, before he can achieve that dream, Watt is determined to help the Steelers break their seven-year playoff win drought.
In an interview with CBS Sports during the offseason, Watt expressed his primary objective: winning playoff games. Despite his individual accomplishments, he recognizes that true success lies in the team's triumphs when it matters most. Watt's unwavering focus is on reaching the playoffs, winning a playoff game, and building from there.
In conclusion, T.J. Watt's record-breaking sack has solidified his place in Steelers history. He now stands as the franchise's all-time career sack leader, surpassing the legendary James Harrison. Watt's achievements, coupled with his unwavering determination to bring playoff success to the Steelers, make him a force to be reckoned with in the NFL.