Pittsburgh Steelers pass rusher T.J. Watt is in good standing to win NFL Defensive Player of the Year after tying Michael Strahan’s all-time record for sacks in a single season during Sunday’s win over the Baltimore Ravens
But the Steelers were reportedly denied an appeal this week that would’ve given him the solo record.
Watt sacked Ravens’ quarterback Tyler Huntley in the second quarter to tie the record at 22.5 sacks for the season, but the play in question came during the first quarter when center Bradley Bozeman hit Huntley with a low snap.
T.J. Watt of the Pittsburgh Steelers sacks Tyler Huntley of the Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium on Jan. 9, 2022, in Baltimore, Maryland. (Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
He recovered the ball before Watt hit him, forcing a fumble that was then recovered by Pittsburgh’s Henry Mondeaux. Initially, it was treated as a sack, tying Strahan’s record, but eventually it was ruled an aborted play and Watt was credited with a tackle for loss and a forced fumble.
After the game, Watt appeared to disagree with the ruling, adding that Huntley could’ve still thrown the ball.
“It was empty [backfield] and there was a bad snap,” he told Sports Illustrated. “[Tyler Huntley] fell on it, but then he got up. And when he got back up on his two feet, I tackled him and got the ball out. So, I mean, he very well could have still thrown the ball. My understanding was that it was a sack, but apparently it wasn’t, at least according to the statisticians.”
Pittsburgh linebacker T.J. Watt celebrates after a first quarter sack against the Baltimore Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium on Jan. 9, 2022, in Baltimore, Maryland. (Randy Litzinger/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Pittsburgh Steelers cornerback Arthur Maulet prepares to make a hit on Ravens quarterback Tyler Huntley Jan. 9, 2022, in Baltimore. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)
The Steelers told ProFootballTalk that they appealed the play with the Elias Sports Bureau, but they were denied.