In the wake of the game, Anthony Treash of Pro Football Focus (PFF) named two Steelers defenders to his Team of the Week for Week 7.
For his part, outside linebacker T.J. Watt was named PFF’s Defensive Player of the Week, the second time Pittsburgh’s dominant edge rusher has earned that distinction this season. (Watt was also PFF’s Defensive Player of the Week after Pittsburgh’s season-opening win over the New York Giants.)
It’s also the second time this year that the Steelers have had two defenders on Treash’s list in the same week. In September T.J. Watt and defensive lineman Tyson Alualu were both a part of PFF’s Team of the Week after Pittsburgh’s 26-21 triumph over the Denver Broncos, with Watt’s performance against Denver also leading to AFC Defensive Player of the Week honors.
T.J. Watt vs. the Tennessee Titans
As noted by Treash, Watt posted a 91.8 PFF grade against the Titans in Week 7, his fourth game this year above 90.0. It’s also his 13th game since the start of 2019 in which he earned a grade above 80.0, four more than the next closest competitor.
As for his performance against the Titans, Watt was the only Steelers player “to make a major dent as a pass-rusher as he came away with a 28.6% pass-rush win rate. That brings his season-long rate to 26.7%, which is 4.5 percentage points higher than any other edge rusher. Oh, and he had the highest single-game run-defense grade of his career at 90.7,” reports Treash.
In terms of his stats from Sunday, Watt had four tackles and one assist, with three tackles for loss, one sack and one pass defensed.
All in all, Watt has been on PFF’s Team of the Week list three times so far this season. Safety Minkah Fitzpatrick also earned the distinction after Pittsburgh’s 38-7 win over the Cleveland Browns in Week 6.
Vince Williams vs. the Titans
As for the other Steelers player on PFF’s Team of the Week, that would be eighth-year inside linebacker Vince Williams. While all eyes were on fellow inside backer Robert Spillane (who was charged with replacing Devin Bush in the lineup in the wake of Bush’s season-ending ACL injury), Williams had a monster game against the Titans, recording nine tackles with one assist, one sack, and two tackles for loss. He also forced Titans quarterback Ryan Tannehill to fumble on a punishing hit near Pittsburgh’s goal line:
Looking ahead to next week, Williams and the rest of Pittsburgh’s defenders face an entirely different challenge in trying to stop Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson, who has thrown 10 touchdown passes against only two interceptions but is also Baltimore’s leading rusher with 346 yards on the ground.
The Steelers kick off against the 5-1 Ravens at 1 p.m. ET on Sunday at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore.
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