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T.J. Watt Says There Was No Ill Intent On ‘Punching’ Penalty

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PITTSBURGH — The Steelers were not happy with the refereeing on Sunday night. Even after coming out with a 23-20 victory over the Seattle Seahawks, the Steelers had plenty of words for the referees after the game, with head coach Mike Tomlin calling the late-game replay stoppage an embarrassment and Ben Roethlisberger sounding skeptical about the explanation he got for a replay-reviewed fumble call.

T.J. Watt was not absolved from that group, as he took umbrage to the unnecessary roughness call that was called on him. As Watt notes, he was not trying to punch Seattle running back Alex Collins but was rather trying to punch the ball out.

“I punch every week,” Watt said. “If you watch the film, it’s nothing malicious. I didn’t intend to punch him in the face or in the arm at all. I am striking at the football. I just told him it’s something that I do on a regular basis. It’s not something where I’m trying to affect the player in any way. I’m just trying to get the football out.”

Watt would later do the same thing in his strip of Geno Smith that set up the Steelers in prime real estate to kick the winning field goal. He is known for forcing fumbles with his vicious punch, which is taught at all levels of football. Since he came into the league, Watt has forced an impressive 18 fumbles. It is that move that is littered all over his film that showcases this was likely more of a football play than a malicious play.

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