On Sunday December 19 the Pittsburgh Steelers dispatched the Tennessee Titans 19-13 at Heinz Field to raise their record to 7-6-1. Along the way, Steelers outside linebacker T.J. Watt recorded 1.5 sacks, raising his total to 17.5 on the season. In the process, he broke the franchise’s single-season record for sacks, which was 16, set by linebacker James Harrison in 2008, the same season that Harrison was named AP NFL Defensive Player of the Year.
Soon after Watt broke his record, Harrison—who is now pursuing an acting career—took to Twitter to congratulate T.J. on his achievement. He also encouraged Watt to continue on in pursuit of the NFL’s single-season sack record (22.5), which was set by Michael Strahan of the New York Giants in 2001.
Watt is now the league leader in sacks and still has three games to add to his largesse—at Kansas City, at home against Cleveland, and at Baltimore. In some ways, it’s amazing that Watt has already amassed so many quarterback takedowns. After all, he has missed two games in their entirety and more than half of three others due to injuries to his groin, knee and hip.
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Per ESPN, Watt finished the Titans game with five tackles (four solo), with one tackle for loss, three quarterback hits and the aforementioned 1.5 sacks.
T.J. Watt on Breaking the Steelers’ Single-Season Sack Record
After the game, a reporter asked T.J. Watt about breaking Harrison’s record. “It’s a great accomplishment with the historic franchise we have here,” he said. “But there’s so much work to do that I can’t really stop to think about stuff like that. Just finished a game, got a win, but it means nothing if we don’t handle business this next week.”
Ben Roethlisberger Passes Philip Rivers on Passing Yards List
Meanwhile, Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger reached a milestone of his own on Sunday. By throwing for 148 yards he passed Philip Rivers to move to fifth all-time with 63,562 passing yards. He trails only Tom Brady, Drew Brees, Peyton Manning and Brett Favre.
Roethlisberger also scored a third-quarter touchdown on a quarterback sneak, his first rushing touchdown in three years.
Ex-Steelers Linebacker Bud Dupree Records a Sack in Homecoming
Last but not least, former Steelers first-round pick Bud Dupree managed to record one of Tennessee’s three sacks of Ben Roethlisberger. It was Dupree’s second sack of the year, having spent the last three weeks on injured reserve with an abdominal injury.
Dupree signed a five-year, $82.5 million contract with the Titans in March 2021 but he has yet to completely recover from the torn ACL he suffered against the Baltimore Ravens on December 1, 2020. On Sunday he was credited with two tackles (one solo), with one tackle for loss, one quarterback hit and the one sack.
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