TJ Watt: The Pittsburgh Steelers’ Not-So-Secret Weapon To Beat Kansas City Chiefs Quarterback Patrick Mahomes | NFL News

Steelers linebacker TJ Watt has become a threat to quarterbacks in the NFL

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

It’s the classic contest of experience versus youth: the grizzled, gunslinging two-time Super Bowl winner looking for one last hurray against one of the current faces of the NFL and To get mad cover star aiming to add to his already considerable reputation by lifting a second Vince Lombardi Trophy.

However, if the Steelers are going to send Roethlisberger to the top at SoFi Stadium on Feb. 13 in what many hope will be the 39-year-old’s final season, then a lot of those hopes may rest on the shoulders of considerable of the man. voted by his teammates as the franchise’s Most Valuable Player 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 has also become one of the most dominant defensive players in the NFL. This was underscored when he tied the single-season sack record in last Sunday’s 16-13 overtime win over the Baltimore Ravens, helping to secure an unlikely playoff berth before the final day of the regular season.

“Succinctly, it just speaks to his level of mastery and where he is in his career in terms of talent and experience, and finding that meeting point between experience and youth,” said Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin, last week, reflecting on Watt once. being honored again by his peers.

“He’s young enough where he has the fuel to do the things he needs to do. He’s in the prime of his career. He’s gained enough experience that he can play the game above the neck and make the critical decisions in situations that allow him to make those splash plays we think of when we think of him.

“And his teammates just acknowledge that we’re talking about a guy who a few years ago was third in the [NFL] Defensive Player of the Year voting; last year he was second in the voting, and this year he is the favourite.

“So from a team perspective, that obviously puts him in a position to potentially be the MVP, and his teammates state the obvious.”

Watt’s achievement of reaching 22.5 sacks when he ran over Ravens quarterback Tyler Huntley in the second quarter last Sunday equaled the record set by former New York Giants defensive end Michael Strahan in 2001, and he might as well have broken it had he had a first quarter. hitting Huntley has not been declared a forced fumble.

To put that into some kind of context, even the great Lawrence Taylor, the only linebacker to be named NFL MVP, never had more than 20.5 sacks in a season and that was in 1986, when the Giants icon who he changed the game he was the best in the league. player.

Not surprisingly, along with older brother JJ, the Arizona Cardinals defensive end and two-time NFL single-season sack leader who is struggling to get in shape for their NFC wild-card matchup with the Los Angeles Rams , Pittsburgh’s Watt to be an opponent. quarterbacks all over the league are always suspicious.

TJ is not only special, but in the way he can bend to get to the quarterback, but also in the effort with which he plays.

Patrick Mahomes on the danger posed by TJ Watt

In fact, even though he, along with Minnesota Vikings signal-caller Kirk Cousins, has been sacked the fewest times (28) of any other regular starting quarterback this season, the Chiefs star Mahomes is well aware that the 27-year-old will seek him out at Arrowhead Stadium in the early hours of Monday morning UK time.

“He’s a special player,” Mahomes said. “I mean, I don’t know what’s in that family, but they have great football players there and you said it; TJ is not only special, but the way he can bend to get to the quarterback, but the effort with the one who plays

“There’s a lot of guys like that out there, Cam Heyward, [Alex] blacksmith. I mean they have a lot of guys that play hard the whole game and continually play and go and go. So for me, it’s about every time I make those long, extended plays, I don’t make a bad play happen.

“Those guys are going to be around me the whole time following the play, so when I fight and get in the pocket when things aren’t there, I have to make sure I keep them in mind because they’re not going to give up.” the game.”

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Take a look at the next generation of NFL talent looking to perform in the playoffs.

Take a look at the next generation of NFL talent looking to perform in the playoffs.

Mahomes and the Chiefs will head into the matchup buoyed by the fact that they already outclassed the Steelers on Dec. 26, a 36-10 win that kept Andy Reid’s team on course for a sixth straight AFC West title.

However, Watt’s influence extends beyond what he does on the grid and Tomlin hopes the work his defensive leader does in practice will help and lead his teammates to improve as well.

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

“‘Hey, is the tight end’s helmet breaking the waist of the tackle? Or is he completely off the ball? If he’s completely off the ball, you have to be alert to the possibility of him going behind the line of scrimmage in the center”. to the other outside linebacker’.

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“I mean, it’s strictly football, it’s very clinical, but that’s just his approach. It doesn’t make sense. That’s the way he advises.”

A no-nonsense approach, therefore, it’s fair to say, both on and off the pitch. Time will tell if that can help Pittsburgh dash Kansas City’s dreams of reaching the Super Bowl for a third straight year.

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