Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker T.J. Watt became the franchise’s all-time leader in sacks during a Week 2 win over the Cleveland Browns on Monday Night Football.
Watt dragged Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson down to the ground just before halftime on Monday, giving him 81.5 career sacks. The 2021 Defensive Player of the Year surpassed James Harrison for Pittsburgh’s top mark. Watt, a five-time Pro Bowler, also scored a go-ahead touchdown off of a fumble recovery on his record-breaking night.
“I’d be lying to you if I didn’t say it was special,” Watt said of the record via the team website. “Just like anything, it hasn’t set in. I don’t know if it will until I have time to really sit down and process what just happened tonight. But there’s so many people along the way that have helped me get to where I am.”
The 28-year-old joins elite company as one of the 32 players to lead a franchise all-time in sacks.
Watt is one of six active players to hold that distinction, joining Chandler Jones (Arizona Cardinals), Myles Garrett (Cleveland Browns), Von Miller (Denver Broncos), Aaron Donald (Los Angeles Rams) and Cameron Jordan (New Orleans Saints). Jones has since moved on to the Las Vegas Raiders, while Miller now plays for the Buffalo Bills.
T.J Watt Joins Brother J.J. Watt as Sack Leader
On a more personal note, T.J. is now the second member of the Watt family to lead a franchise in sacks. His older brother, three-time Defensive Player of the Year J.J. Watt, recorded 101 sacks during his decade-long career with the Houston Texans. The eldest Watt brother retired from the NFL after last season and now works as an analyst for CBS.
“T.J. Watt is the best defensive player on the planet,” J.J. Watt tweeted during Monday’s game. “Stop trying to question it, stop trying to justify anyone else. He is the best. Period.”
Bruce Smith has the most sacks for a single team of any player in NFL history. The Pro Football Hall of Famer recorded 171 sacks during his 15 seasons with the Buffalo Bills. Smith is the league’s all-time sack leader with 200 across 19 total seasons. For comparison, Tony Brackens is the all-time leader of the Jacksonville Jaguars with 55 sacks. That is the fewest sacks of any player to lead their franchise.
Curious how T.J. Watt compares to the other all-time greats? Here’s a look at which players have the most sacks for all 32 NFL teams.
A quick note: Sacks did not become an official stat until 1982 and the NFL does not recognize sacks that were recorded before that season. The numbers listed below were all pulled from Pro Football Reference. The sack totals for active players are where they stood entering Week 3 of the 2023 NFL season.