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T.J. Watt Sack Party, Part VI: Saving the Steelers from the Ravens

T.J. Watt dominated the depleted Ravens as the Steelers escaped with a win.

NFL: Pittsburgh Steelers at Dallas Cowboys Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

The Steelers entered week 12 with a 10-0 record after winning their last two games by more than 20 points. They faced a Baltimore Ravens team that was in the midst of a Covid-19 outbreak, limping into the game with numerous significant absences.

Week 12, second quarter, 10:25. T.J. Watt is the edge rusher to the right side of the screen.

Watt takes #74 for a ride and records another sack (QB Robert Griffin III’s knee touches right before Dupree and Heyward get hands on him). You may remember that offensive lineman from earlier in this series when he ran a play wrong and got Lamar Jackson sacked in week 8. Rookie Tyre Phillips was overmatched as a rookie guard in week 8, in week 12 he was playing tackle and facing T.J. Watt. His technique is understandably flawed, and you can’t bring that against T.J. Watt and expect anything but bad results. The Ravens didn’t have a tackle that could handle Watt 1v1, and it was a major problem for them all game.

-Bonus, non-sack clip-

Week 12, third quarter, 9:48. T.J. Watt is the edge rusher to the right side of the screen.

Compounding Baltimore’s struggle to block T.J. Watt with a lineman is his athleticism and explosiveness off the snap that ruins running plays that try to account for an edge rusher without blocking them, like this one. Watt is in the backfield fast enough to read the handoff and make the play on either the quarterback or running back.

Week 12, third quarter, 4:41. T.J. Watt is the edge rusher to the right side of the screen.

That explosiveness combined with Watt’s knack for finishing plays makes him probably the most dangerous player in the NFL if he’s unblocked. Keith Butler does a great job giving blockers a lot of different schemes and looks to think about, and with a patchwork roster, a mistake like this was inevitable. Both Tyre Phillips and running back Gus Edwards take the inside rusher and Watt has a free run at Robert Griffin III.

T.J. Watt led both teams with 2 sacks, 3 QB hits and 3 tackles for a loss in this game, and he tied Robert Spillane for the Steeler lead with 6 total tackles. With the Steelers starting a terrible offensive run of 4 games without scoring 20 points, T.J. Watt’s domination of a depleted Ravens kept the Steelers undefeated for another week.