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Steelers’ T.J. Watt Puts Himself in Rare Air with Lawrence Taylor



Myles Garrett Steelers OLB T.J. Watt
Steelers OLB T.J. Watt against the Baltimore Ravens on Oct. 8, 2023 - Ed Thompson / Steelers Now

If you somehow find yourself as an NFL player in a position where the only two players accomplishing something on the gridiron are you and Lawrence Taylor, there’s a chance you might be doing something right. That’s the case for Steelers star T.J. Watt, who put himself into those exact parameters against the Los Angeles Rams on Sunday.

Here’s how Watt joined that immortal company. Since 1982, there have been only two players with seven interceptions and over 70 sacks in their first seven NFL seasons. That’s it. The list is Watt and Taylor. If you ever hear stories about the type of player Taylor was to the Giants, you would know how valuable Watt is to the Steelers in the same fabric. He has no tangible explanation for how productive he can be; it’s just part of who Watt is. You have to ask Matthew Stafford, who did expect Watt to be there. The Rams expected one look, got another, and Watt jumped the pass off that.

“Bottom line is that we had hitches on the outside for a little option route from the three spot and seams at the two spot,” Rams head coach Sean McVay said. “We obviously thought it was going to be a single high. Steelers CB Levi Wallace rolled up as a cloud and got WR Cooper (Kupp) working an option on the mike and you don’t feel that overlap from the hook player when (Steelers LB T.J.) Wat] ended up dropping out of there and that’s what led to the turnover.”

Watt is no coverage specialist. But maybe he can do special things that few in the NFL can aside from him. That’s where he makes his due every Sunday. Without him, the record speaks for itself. With him, the Steelers often find ways to win games they have no business winning. Edge rusher wins is not a stat I am into, but when it goes over five seasons, there’s a correlation to just how valuable Watt is to the Steelers. Pittsburgh has a future Hall of Famer on their team in Watt. This is just another notch into his cap.