After missing most of the preseason with a hamstring injury, expectations were low for T.J. Watt in his first game action of the year for the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 1 and few fans can have anticipated the performance he gave on Sunday.
A total of 11 tackles and 4 sacks, to go along with a blocked field goal that prevented the Cleveland Browns winning the match up in the final seconds of overtime, led the team on defense in both categories for Pittsburgh and it should come as no surprise to learn that Watt was named AFC Defensive Player of the Week for his efforts by the NFL on Wednesday.
As per the Steelers PR/Media Manager, Dom Rinelli, Watt is the first Pittsburgh linebacker to win defensive player of the week honor since Lawrence Timmons won the award in Week 6 of the 2010 season. He is also the first NFL player to record at least 10 total tackles & 4 sacks in a game since Connor Barwin achieved that milestone while with the Houston Texans in November of 2011, according to Rinelli.
Watt’s incredible Opening Day stat line was not lost on brother J.J. either, and it is perhaps worth nothing that the former Defensive Player of Year has never recorded more than 3 sacks in a game himself during an eight year career and has only made double digit combined tackles (10) once in a game. Certainly something worth T.J. mentioning the next time he speaks to his eldest sibling.