The Pittsburgh Steelers are 11-0 in 2020.
All facets of the game have been dominated by their players.
This includes outside linebacker T.J. Watt who in his 4th year is arguably having his best season in the NFL.
Because it’s the time of year we start to speculate on individual honors, it is not far-fetched to assume that T.J. Watt will win NFL Defensive Player of the Year.
Here are 3 reasons why.
1. He Is AFC Defensive Player of the Month Again
Watt has been named AFC Defensive Player of the Month for the second time this season (and the third in his career).
In addition to earning the award in November 2020, he received it in September 2020 and November 2019.
This means he is consistently performing at a high level.
— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) December 4, 2020
In his 4 November games, Watt had 13 solo tackles and 5 1/2 quarterback sacks.
Watt had 2 sacks in each of the Bengals and Ravens games.
2. Watt Was AFC Defensive Player of the Month in September.
Watt picked up right where he left off at the end of last season during the Steelers’ 3 September games in 2020.
TJ Watt (@_TJWatt) is your AFC Defensive Player of the Month for the month of September.
-5 tackles for loss
-29.3 % pass rush win rate
-10 QB hits
-2 pass deflections
— AroundThe412 (@AroundThe412) October 1, 2020
3. His workload just got heavier.
With the loss of his fellow OLB Bud Dupree for the rest of the season (torn ACL), Watt is expected to be even more dominant to propel the Steelers through the postseason.
When asked if the loss of Dupree will impact Watt, Coach Tomlin said:
“I don’t think T.J. gets assistance from anyone in terms of his quality of play. T.J. makes his plays. I don’t think that’s going to be an issue at all. Guys like T.J. don’t depend on anyone”
Watt leads the league with 11 quarterback sacks in 11 games.
In addition to his 33 quarterback hits, 17 are for a loss which leads the NFL.
One of Three Watt Brothers in the NFL
T.J. and Derek Watt play for the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Despite T.J.’s outstanding play this year, he still lives in the shadow of his more well-known brother J.J. Watt of the Houston Texans.
“For me and T.J., playing the same position, fighting for the same things, trying to one up each other at all times, there’s nothing better than that…Me and T.J., personally, there’s obviously a whole lot of competition going on, and I have no plans on letting my little brother win anytime soon.”
T.J. has some work to do to catch big brother J.J. Watt who is 31.
J.J. has won NFL Defensive Player of the Year three times; T.J. is seeking his first.
T.J. Watt will cement his status as NFL Defensive Player of the Year if he can lead his team to dominant defensive performances in early December.
The Steelers are in the middle of a 3 game swing that is being played over the course of 12 days.
That’s a grueling schedule for the league’s only remaining undefeated team.
The Steelers play the Washington Football Team on Monday, December 7 and then turn their attention to a tough Sunday Night Football matchup against the Buffalo Bills on December 13.