T.J. Watt Makes Splash After Quiet Week In Kansas City

Rookie starter T.J. Watt had a pretty quiet game last week against the Chiefs in Kansas City, registering just one tackle, though that is not necessarily indicative of poor play. He was far more active yesterday against the Bengals, registering a total of six tackles to go along with his fourth sack of the season, which now puts him in a three-way tie for the team lead in sacks.

From what I can quickly gather, it seems as though at least three of his tackle were registered as stops, all against the run, and I believe each of them came against a different running back. Aside from his sack for a loss of seven yards, he also created multiple pressures on other downs that influenced the play.

It seemed just last week that many may have wanted to pump the breaks on the Pittsburgh Steelers’ rookie starter experiment and reinsert James Harrison, who came through in the clutch a week ago to record a sack for a loss of eight yards on third and 10 against the Chiefs on a potential game-winning drive.

That performance last week did earn Harrison another helmet after he was a healthy scratch in consecutive weeks, and he did see a bit of time on the field yesterday, but he did not play much, nor did he record any statistics, which helped set up Watt for what was perhaps the best game so far of his young career, though it’s hard to top two sacks and an interception, as he got in his debut.

Watt, who missed one game with an injury, has now played in and started six games for the Steelers, compiling so far 26 tackles with four sacks, one interception, and three passes defensed. It is hard to argue against that productivity when you combine that with the fact that he has had relatively few ‘rookie’ mistakes to speak of.

Watt has now recorded six-tackle, one-sack performances twice within the past three weeks, sandwiched in between, as has been noted, just a one-tackle showing last week in Kansas City, and he is beginning to play faster and more aggressively as he settles into more and more of a rhythm.

But there is I think no greater compliment with respect to what the coaching staff thinks of the young player than the fact that they have entrusted in him the lion’s share of the coverage responsibilities from the outside linebacker position.

While the right outside linebacker has traditionally done it more than the left side, Alex’s numbers have him dropping quite frequently, more than 40 percent of the time on passing downs, if my memory is correct, which may only bolster the quality of his pass-rushing numbers.

His sack yesterday came on an impressive inside burst between the left guard and tackle, on which he dropped Andy Dalton for a seven-yard loss on third down and forced them to punt late in the game, a clutch play from the 23-year-old.

About the Author

Matthew Marczi

Passionate Steelers fan with a bit of writing ability. Connoisseur of loud music. Follow me on Twitter @mmarczi.

  • Steel Realist PAul

    Watt is the OLB we’ve wanted for years.

  • The Tony

    Watt and Dupree both lived up to their billing yesterday. Both were explosive and disruptive getting to Dalton. I thought Dupree should have been credited with 1.5 sacks instead of the one sack on the play where he just blew right pass the line and hit Dalton but failed to bring him down and Alulalu came in and finished the sack. The defense looked to be playing with confidence and swagger in the second half after a very frustrating first half where we couldn’t get off the field.
    One play I had issue with was I believe the first touchdown the Steelers let off. James Harrison dropped back in coverage about ten yards from the line of scrimmage and then was sent on a very delayed blitz. Harrison was definitely not the player to be sending on that blitz when we needed speed to get to Dalton there.

  • CP72

    Thought it was interesting that Watt and Dupree were flipping sides yesterday.

  • Orlysteel

    This kid looks like the real deal, it’s about time.

  • Danielsteelstrong81

    Dupree needs to wrap up..he clearly missed a sack on Dalton but than recovered and got 1. Would have had 2 sacks if he wraps up better

  • treeher

    On that TD play, the TE was totally untouched. How can we let that happen on goal line defense? You’ve got to bump him off the line and throw off the timing. Have Mata and Fort in there, I think there was miscommunication. No way should that TE have been left alone.

  • Doug Andrews

    I’ve been impressed with the rook. I figured he’d be a year away from contributing at this level when they drafted him. What sticks out to me is that he’s in great condition he runs to the football, makes plays in the passing game and he’s transitioned well from college OLB to NFL OLB. TJ’s turning into a good if not great draft pick by the Steelers.

  • T3xassteelers

    He’s ahead of Dupree!!…

  • T3xassteelers

    True, but Alualu finished him for a loss about 3 yards more than Dupree had lol

  • NCSteel

    Second half adjustments and then game script became big factors in how aggressive the defense got after it yesterday but that not taking anything away from that kid. He’s gonna be a legit star in the league. Enjoy it folks, he’s young and he’s hungry.

  • Mr. Goodkat

    Gotta finish that sack. Was lucky Alualu was there to clean up. That wont always be the case.

  • Charles Mullins

    He is going to grow into his body as well. Should be fun to watch.

  • Steel Realist PAul

    He just seems like an instinctual player who’s also physically gifted. Dupree has the physical, but the other stuff seems like it’s still being baked or something.

  • FATCAT716

    I was lost screaming at the T.V. I don’t know why Harrison was blitzing at that point

  • The Tony

    I was confused by that as well. It doen’t make sense to me to do a delayed blitz with a slower player on a short to goal.Those are typically get the ball out quick plays

  • SkoolHouseRoxx

    It was really really really fun watching Watt and Dupree play that 4th quarter! They went together like Peanut butter and jelly!

  • MC

    His sack yesterday is of the quality that Dupree has yet to obtain. Im hoping Dupree learns to go through a guy here and there not stop running upfield. He’s not setting his guy up for any counter.

  • Danielsteelstrong81

    Defensive rookie of the year