Steelers linebacker T.J. Watt finished with the NFL lead in sacks, tackles for loss and quarterback hits, despite sitting out of Sunday’s Steelers regular-season finale in Cleveland.
Watt’s 15 sacks held up as the league leader, with Aaron Donald of the Los Angeles Rams and Trey Hendrickson of the New Orleans Saints finishing in second place with 13.5. Arizona Cardinals linebacker Haason Reddick and Green Bay linebacker Za’Darius Smith tied for fourth with 12.5 sacks. Watt’s sacks cost opponents a total of 112 yards this season, which is also the most among any defensive player.
In tackles for loss, Watt finished with 26, with Donald and Reddick well behind at 20 and Chicago’s Roquan Smith and Tampa Bay’s Devin White tied for fourth at 18.
Watt finished with 41 quarterback hits, well eclipsing second-place Carl Lawson of the Cincinnati Bengals, who had 32.
Watt, who was voted the Steelers’ team MVP for the second straight season, also had an interception, two forced fumbles and seven passes defended this season while racking up 53 tackles, and remains the odds-on favorite to become the NFL Defensive Player of the Year for the first time in his career.
Watt’s 15 sacks left him one short of the franchise’s single-season record, set by James Harrison in 2008. He is tied in second place with Mike Merriweather, who had 15 in 1984.