Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker T.J. Watt was named the AFC’s Defensive Player of the Month for September, the NFL announced on Thursday.
In September, Watt tallied 11 tackles (nine solo), six sacks, 12 quarterback hits, five tackles for loss, two passes defended, two forced fumbles, and two fumble recoveries with one going for a touchdown. Additionally in September, Watt became the Steelers’ all-time sack leader after he surpassed James Harrison’s 80.5 career sacks.
Harrison was in attendance for the Steelers’ victory against the Cleveland Browns and was able to see Watt break his franchise record.
“It’s great,” said Harrison. “That is the whole reason I came, so I could be here in person to see it. Records are meant to be broken and that was one I was happy to see go down, especially watching it here. … It’s simple. It’s guys that played here wanting to see guys that are currently playing do better and greater things than what the previous group did and holding up what that Steelers’ lore is.”
Appearing to be fully healthy after an injury-riddled 2022 season, the former Defensive Player of the Year is on pace for another award-winning season. Watt currently leads the NFL in sacks and is averaging two full sacks per game through the first three weeks of the season.
If the Wisconsin alum can continue that pace, he will shatter his own NFL record of 22.5 sacks that he totaled during his 2021 Defensive Player of the Year campaign. While it is still early in the season, Watt is an early frontrunner to win his second Defensive Player of the Year award.
This is now the fourth time that Watt earned an AFC Defensive Player of the Month award as he won it twice in 2020 (September and November) and once in 2019 (November). In addition to Watt, Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa earned the offensive award while Buffalo Bills kicker Tyler Bass took home the special teams award. Houston Texans quarterback C.J. Stroud, who will face Watt this week, was the rookie of the month.