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Steelers' TJ Watt has chance to make history in Week 18 of 2021 NFL season

Seattle Seahawks v Pittsburgh Steelers
Seattle Seahawks v Pittsburgh Steelers
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Ian Van Roy

TJ Watt has been a defender on fire in 2021. Despite occasional availability issues, the pass rusher has dominated the line of scrimmage this season.

Thanks to his performance on Monday Night Football, Watt has a chance to do something never before seen in the NFL.

Here's a look at what can happen if Week 18 goes well for Watt.

TJ Watt in range of single-season sack record

Pittsburgh Steelers v Cincinnati Bengals
Pittsburgh Steelers v Cincinnati Bengals

Despite likely playing in only 15 games this season, Watt has a chance to set a new record for sacks in a season with a big performance in Week 18.

The linebacker has had the most productive season of his career and at 21.5 sacks, he has more sacks earned in a single season than any other player in Steelers history.

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With the franchise record out of the way, Watt now sets his sights on the NFL record. A couple of weeks ago, it seemed that Watt could miss the record book entirely.

After the game against the Kansas City Chiefs in which he earned no sacks, his back was up against the wall at 17.5 sacks with two games to play.

He needed a massive game against the Browns and that is what he got. Now, suddenly in range of history, Watt needs to earn 1.5 sacks against the Baltimore Ravens to beat Michael Strahan's 22.5-sack season in 2001, according to ESPN via Dov Kleiman.

Welcome to the 20+ sack club @_TJWatt! (Only one person ever has done it twice. Imagine if it was your older brother and he bragged about it, that would suck.) Go break the record kid.

The Ravens are the last obstacle for TJ Watt making history. It will be up to them to protect Lamar Jackson or Tyler Huntley.

The Ravens tend to care about records more than other teams, as they famously take preseason wins and losses seriously.

They will be aware of how close Watt is and will do everything in their power to make sure it doesn't happen on their watch.

Of course, they might not be able to stop Watt. The Ravens only need to stumble on two plays to give Watt the record.

If Huntley plays, he will also be less likely to dodge Watt if he breaks into the offensive backfield (unlike Lamar Jackson).

TJ Watt has 21.5 sacks and has only played 12 full games this year.

If Watt sets a new record, there will undoubtedly be some detractors that cite the 17-game season as the true reason Watt earned the record.

Without the extra game, they will argue, Watt's accomplishments will have a caveat attached.

Advocates will say that Watt still accomplished the feat in 16 games. Detractors will say that Watt would not be playing in this game with a shot if there was no extra game.

One thing is clear: there will not be a lack of controversy about this, as it could be the first NFL record that results from adding an extra game.


Edited by LeRon Haire
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