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How Many Games Into 2022 Will It Take For Steelers’ TJ Watt To Break The Franchise Sack Record?

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How Many Games Into 2022 Will It Take For Steelers’ TJ Watt To Break The Franchise Sack Record?

Training camp is fast approaching for the Pittsburgh Steelers and the rest of the league. A clean slate for the franchise and a new horizon awaits the team. However, there are always lurking questions going into camp and the season. One of the most anticipated events that is all but certain to happen this season is outside linebacker TJ Watt breaking the Steelers all-time sack record.

Watt has been on a tear since being drafted in 2017. He has increased his sack total each season, and tied the all-time NFL record this past season, doing so in only 15 games. He hasn’t had a season without double digit sacks since his rookie year, in which he still posted 7, a respectable start for a rookie.

This past season, he brought his career total to a whopping 72 sacks. That currently lands him fifth all-time on the list. He is currently behind four Steeler legends in Jason Gildon, Joe Greene, LC Greenwood, and James Harrison, respectively. Harrison tops the list at 80.5.

So again, at Watt’s current pace, it’s a matter of when, not if, that the record will belong to him.

Let’s take a look at when Watt is likely to reach this milestone based off his current statistics.

Retired Steelers linebacker James Harrison

Current franchise sack leader for the Pittsburgh Steelers, James Harrison. (PC: Heavy.com)

 

Crunching The Numbers

So, as we know, Watt has 72 total sacks currently. He has played in and started 77 games in his career. Rounding it up, that equates to roughly .94 sacks a game. Watt needs 8.5 to tie and 9 to break the record. At his current rate, Watt would need 10 games to claim the record, which would come Week 11 at home against the Cincinnati Bengals. This would be awesome, however, I believe it will be done sooner.

As mentioned before, Watt has increased his sack total each year. If you take his rookie campaign out of the equation, his sack per game total jumps to roughly 1.05 sacks per game. If you take out his sophomore season, it increases furthermore, to 1.13 per game. Just for fun, in his last two seasons, Watt averages 1.25 sacks per game. Based off those numbers, the record could belong to Watt as early as Week 7 if he continues at the rate he has the past two years.

Steelers LB TJ Watt

Steelers megastar, TJ Watt. (PC: UPI.com)

It is tough to say he will have the same season he had last year and tie his sack total or surpass it, but I believe it’s easy to believe he can break the record well before Week 11. Watt was recently ranked the best edge rusher in football in a poll done by ESPN in which they ranked the league’s top 10 edge rushers. Aside from the sack numbers, the article brings up other metrics that continue to display just how dominant Watt really is. He tallied a league leading 35.5 disrupted drop backs, and had a 23.1% pass rush win rate, good for seventh overall.

Mix this altogether, and the sack record will likely be his early in the season.

 

My Prediction

I believe Watt will claim the record somewhere between Week 5-7. He is entering his sixth season and is squarely in his prime at the moment. Again, he may not have 22.5 sacks and average 1.5 sacks a game like the 2021 season, but what’s to say he won’t? What’s to say he won’t break his and Michael Strahan‘s own record along the way to becoming the Steelers’ greatest sack artist of all-time?

He has lived up and surpassed his billing so far, and has done everything in his power to be the best player he can be. I firmly believe that he will continue to be an absolute juggernaut and be in the running for Defensive Player of the Year again as he has the last three seasons. Who knows, he may have his eyes on more than just the Steelers franchise record when all is said and done.

Regardless of this, I look forward to watching Watt continue to produce at an elite level this season. He will likely to continue to mold into more of a leader as the team grows in this time of transition, as their leader of nearly the last two decades [Ben Roethlisberger] has left it for him and defensive captain, Cam Heyward, to take the reigns. Watt and Heyward will look to lead a defense that will look to cement itself as a top unit in the league yet again this year, as they try to achieve the ultimate goal, bringing a seventh Lombardi Trophy back to the organization and the Steel City.

 

Also a big congratulations to Mr. Watt as he got married this weekend! We wish him and his bride all the best!

#SteelerNation

Lifelong Steeler fan from Long Island, NY . Bleed black and gold. Love sports discussions and giving my opinion, especially when it comes to the Steelers. Follow me on twitter @SeanPMcGeown! Here We Go Steelers!

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