BALTIMORE — T.J. Watt’s unbelievable 2021 season is one that puts him among the greatest to ever play the game as a pass rusher. With 22.5 sacks overall, Watt officially tied Michael Strahan’s record, putting him in elite company.
However, early in the game, Watt stripped Tyler Huntley of the ball after an errant snap.
— Jon Villanueva (@jonvillanueva_) January 9, 2022
It was ruled a rush and thus not credited as a sack to Watt. That still does not mean that players will not push for him to get that extra accreditation in the record books, though. While Watt already has a share of the record and will likely get the hardware that comes with it, Ben Roethlisberger, in particular, is not done advocating for Watt.
“The NFL needs to give T.J. Watt half a sack,” Roethlisberger said after four straight questions to end his press conference.
Clearly, Roethlisberger was in a joking manner but pulling for Watt to get that extra half a sack. Watt’s running mate along the defensive line in Cam Heyward stuck up for him as well. Similar to Roethlisberger, Heyward was amazed by Watt’s accomplishment and put it in the context of how the team helped Watt achieve that as well.
“Man, I couldn’t be more excited for that dude,” Heyward said. “He was a little nervous starting the game. We as a team, want to see him succeed. I’m sure he’s going to tell you he could not do that without other guys. Wormely, Loudermilk, Highsmith, there are a lot of contributing factors to that. When a guy like that breaks the record and is going to be cemented into the NFL forever — I’ve never seen that record broken before, so to see it happen with Pittsburgh is special.”
The record may or may not be Watt’s after the Huntley play is fully reviewed. However, regardless, it takes nothing away from the fact that he tied the record and will likely take home Defensive Player of the Year. As Heyward said, many others contributed to the help, but Watt racked up those sacks in 15 games, which makes it even more impressive.