Will T.J. Watt join his brother in winning the NFL’s Defensive Player of the Year? It’s not a question of can he be honoured as the DPOY because he has all the right credentials. It’s whether the panel of fifty AP sportswriters will decide he is worthy of their vote over the other candidates
Watt’s 14.5 sacks this season were five shy of Tampa Bay’s Shaquil Barret, his 55 tackles were way short of Seattle’s Bobby Wagner’s 159 while his two interceptions were four short of the top ranked players.
Where Watt’s light shines the brightest is with forced fumbles. His eight on the season is just short of the NFL record that stands at 10. His forced fumble against the Seahawks led to a touchdown, against the Dolphins a field goal, at the Jets a touchdown and at the Ravens a field goal.
Chris Wesseling wrote on NFL.com that “Watt impacts each game as a superlative run defender and a game-wrecking backfield presence. It’s not just the 14.5 sacks. Among edge defenders, he also ranks near the top in sack yards (104), QB hits (36), forced fumbles (8), fumble recoveries (4), batted passes (5), passes defended (7) and interceptions (2).”
Watt is the only NFL player since 2008 to have at least 14 sacks, 14 tackles for loss, 33quarterback hits, 7 forced fumbles and 4 fumble recoveries in a season.
Watt is the only player since 1990 to register at least 2 interceptions, 4 fumble recoveries and 8 forced fumbles in a single season.
His 14 combined interceptions, forced fumbles and fumble recoveries led the NFL and tied for the second-most in the NFL since 2000.
While the Steelers offense has struggled this season with the loss of Ben, it has been the defense that has kept them in touch with their opponents and given them the opportunity not to finish with a losing record.
T.J. Watt has led that defense to new heights and ensured after so many disappointing years that Steeler Nation are delighted with its performance.