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Stats Prove Just How Valuable T.J. Watt is to Steelers



T.J. Watt

T.J. Watt is that guy, in case you didn’t know why now. But the 2021 NFL Defensive Player of the Year and a three-time All-Pro selection really is as good as he plays every Sunday. Sometimes, there can be fantastic players that don’t add as much of a sum to the overall win-loss record because of positional capabilities or the fit in a scheme.

But make no mistake, the Steelers and Watt are not in cases of that nature. Instead, Watt continued to prove just how valuable he was throughout the 2022 NFL season, and he did not even suit up after Week 1 until Week 10. But in that stretch, Pittsburgh won only once. In his Steelers career, whenever Watt has played less than 50 percent of snaps in a game, the Steelers are a 1-10-1. That’s an awful stat, but it really shows how much hinges on him.

Even in the microcosm of this season, CBS Sports compiled some splits that the Steelers faced with and without Watt. To say the least, the splits are startling. Watt, even a less than 100 percent Watt, is a massive difference maker for the team to get anything going as a coherent unit.

Those splits are startling. But T.J. Watt is just that valuable. Watt illustrates the concept of gravity that is often not understood in words through the NFL. In other words, the mere presence of Watt allowed Alex Highsmith, Larry Ogunjobi, and Cam Heyward to provide more pressure. The stats simply speak for themselves. Pittsburgh forces more turnovers, gets more sacks, and they certainly win more games with Watt than without him.

With Watt questionable on Sunday, this is a quality reminder that the Steelers need T.J. Watt, even if he’s not fully healthy, on the football field. Year in and year out, Watt has proven his valuable presence and allows those behind him and beside him to play that much better.

When they suit up down in Atlanta in about 21 hours from now, No. 90 joining them would be as much of a boon as anything. Even with only 1.5 sacks this season, do not let the stats fool you. Watt is that guy, and he provides the Steelers with all the help they need on the defensive side of the ball.

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