T.J. Watt: Pittsburgh Steelers’ not-so-secret weapon to take down Kansas City Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes | NFL News

Steelers player TJ Watt has emerged as a threat to NFL quarterbacks

Coming into the AFC Wild Card showdown between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Kansas City Chiefs, the focus will inevitably be on the battle between quarterbacks Ben Roethlisberger and Patrick Mahomes.

It’s your classic experience competition versus the youngsters: the grizzly winner, the gunman, and the two-time Super Bowl winner seek a last-gasp against one of the current faces in the NFL and madden The cover star aims to add to his already big reputation by lifting his second Vince Lombardi Trophy.

However, if the Steelers send Roethlisberger high at SoFi Stadium on February 13 in what many expect to be the 39-year-old’s final season, many of those hopes could fall on the big shoulders of the man. He was voted by his teammates as the best player in the franchise for the third year in a row.

Trent Jordan Watt – better known as ‘TJ’ – is not only the heart of Pittsburgh’s defensive unit, but he has also emerged as one of the most dominant defensive players in the NFL. This was confirmed by his one-season record-equalling in last Sunday’s 16-13 overtime win over the Baltimore Ravens helping to snatch an unlikely berth in a playoff on the final day of the regular season.

Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said last week, commenting on Watt once again being honored by his teammates.

“He is young enough that he has the ability to do the things he needs to do. He is at the height of his career. He has gained enough experience to be able to play an over the neck match and make critical decisions in situations that allow him to make those plays that we think of when think about it.

“His colleagues simply realize that we are talking about a man who a few years ago was in third place in the [NFL] Defensive Player of the Year; Last year he was in second place in the vote, and this year he is the frontrunner.

“So, from the team’s point of view, this obviously puts him in a position to be a potentially better player, and his teammates make the obvious.”

Watt’s feat of hitting 22.5 sacks when he defeated Ravens quarterback Tyler Huntley in the second quarter last Sunday matched the record set by former Michael Strahan at the New York Giants’ defensive end in 2001 — and he could have broken it in the first quarter. Hit on Huntley was not judged a forced stutter.

To put this in some sort of context, even the great Lawrence Taylor, the only linebacker to ever earn an NFL MVP title, never managed more than 20.5 sacks in a season, and that came in 1986, when the game-changing Giants icon was the league’s top player.

It’s no surprise that along with his older brother JJ, Arizona Cardinals defensive end and two-time NFL sack captain who’s fighting to be fit in an NFC Wild Card showdown with the Los Angeles Rams, Watt of Pittsburgh is a perennial opponent of quarterbacks across the league. be careful.

TJ is not only special, but as much as the way he can bend to get to the middle, but the effort he plays with.

Patrick Mahomes on the danger posed by TJ Watt

Indeed, although – along with Minnesota Vikings signaling caller Kirk Cousins ​​- he has been sacked fewer times (28) than any other primary quarterback this season, Chiefs star Mahomes is well aware that the age-old The 27-year-old will be seeking his own at Arrowhead in the early hours of Monday morning UK time.

“He’s an outstanding player,” Mahomes said. “I mean, I don’t know what’s going on in that family, but they have great footballers out there and I said it; TJ is not only special, but as much as the way he can bend to get into the middle, but the effort he puts in.

“They’ve got a lot of guys like that over there, Cam Heyward, [Alex] Highsmith. I mean they have a lot of guys who are playing really hard throughout the game and are constantly playing and going. So, for me, it’s about when I make those long plays, not making bad plays happen.

“These guys are going to be around me kind of all the time after the play, so when I’m jostling and getting in the pocket when things aren’t there, I have to make sure I put their accounts in them because they won’t give in to the play.”

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Mahomes and Chiefs will head into the confrontation buoyed by the fact that they have already beaten the Steelers again on December 26, with a 36-10 win to keep Andy Reed’s team on course to winning their sixth straight West Asian title.

However, Watt’s influence extends far beyond just what he does on the podium, and Tomlin hopes the work his defensive captain does in training will come to aid and lead his teammates to improve themselves up front as well.

“I’m not going to pretend it’s warm and fuzzy,” Tomlin said. “I’m talking about it in a very artistic way—’Hey, read the situation; hey, when this guy’s feet are parallel, that’s what you get; hey, you have to recognize this formation.

Hello, does the narrow end helmet break the waist line when interfering? Or is he completely off the ball? If he’s completely off the ball, you have to be alert to the possibility of him walking behind the line of scrimmage in an instant to the other outside linebacker.”

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January 17, 2022 at 1:00 a.m.

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“I mean, it’s strictly football, it’s very therapeutic, but that’s just his approach. It’s not nonsense. That’s how he directs.”

A meaningless approach, so it’s fair to say, out of the field as well as in it. Time will tell if that can help Pittsburgh fulfill Kansas City’s dreams of winning the Super Bowl for the third year in a row.

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