For years, Michael Strahan’s recording of sacks felt like one of those records that would have fallen for a long time.
Several players approached. Jared Allen and Justin Houston have had 22 sacks a season, a half catch before breaking the record. Since 2001, it has been as close as anyone has come.
By 2021. Linebacker Steelers TJ Watt enters the last week of the season with 21.5 sacks after an impressive four-pack performance against the Browns in their final game. Now he only needs one bag to set a record and 1.5 bags against the Ravens on Sunday to set a record. Perhaps most impressive is that while the league added an extra match to the schedule, which could add a star to other record performances in the future, Watt played only 14 games this season, meaning that if he set a record, he would perform in fewer games than Strahan.
Sporting News plunges into a record and remarkable season that Watt has made to reach that point of the season.
What’s the record in one NFL season attacks?
In 2001, Strahan had an unforgettable season. He recorded 22.5 bags in a single season.
While some will claim that Al Baker holds the record with 23 bags added in 2003, the statistics did not officially count at the time, so the record is unofficial and Strahan is a brand that can be broken.
With his 2021 season, Watt is experiencing real success on both records – official and unofficial -. Before the match in week 17, his bag production slowed down, as he had only 1.5 from week 14 to 16, which began to question whether he could reach the milestone. However, with his four bags against Cleveland, he achieved the best result in one game and returned to the conversation for the record.
In the year that Strahan set a record, he had one game with four jackets and two additional games with at least three. During the season, he had three matches in which he left the quarterbacks untouched, and seven matches in which he managed to get a defender for only half a bag or one full bag.
Watt has played three games with at least three sacks – including last Sunday against Cleveland – and had four games in which he did not fire his opponent QB. He has only two matches behind him, where he recorded only one
TJ Watt missed matches
The addition of the 17th match to the season questioned how the records will be judged ahead. It will be another opportunity for each player to add counting to their stats, which will give players a chance not only to catch up with previous records of one season, but also to achieve career totals in fewer seasons.
If Watt set a record against the Ravens, there would be no reason to ask about his production in each game. Watt missed both the Steelers Week 3 match against the Bengals with a groin injury and their Week 11 match against the Chargers with a hip and knee injury, which means they will end the season with 15 matches. Strahan and Baker played 16 matches during their record seasons.
This season, Watt averaged 1.54 sacks per game, making ESPN Stats & Info the second-best odds in one season since statistics.
TJ Watt needs 1.0 sacks to equal Michael Strahan’s one-season record and has 21.5 sacks in 14 games this season.
This is currently the 2nd most sack per match of the season since 1982, when the sacks became official, behind Reggie White (21 sacks in 12 games played in 1987). pic.twitter.com/1HInnsj0Nq
– ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) January 6, 2022
If he reached 23, his average would actually drop to just 1.53, indicating a remarkable season. To break Reggie White’s record, he would have to reach 26.5 sacks this season, which would set his average at 1.77 per game. That would require him to register five bags in the game, which Stathead said only managed 18 times.
TJ Watt for the best defensive player of the year?
At the moment, it seems that Watt will be named AP Defensive Player of the Year.
According to FanDuel Sportsbook, Watt is the favorite minus-2000 to be named the winner, with Cowboys rookie linebacker Micah Parsons in second place with a plus-1000.
If Watt is named winner, he will join his older brother JJ Watt (a three-time winner) as the only pair of siblings to receive this award.
Watt’s season, which is now on the verge of history, has questioned whether he should be a strong candidate for the NFL MVP. While his season was remarkable, it would take a long time to win an AP NFL MVP award.
Only two defensive players have ever been named MVP: Alan Page (1971) and Lawrence Taylor (1986). In the year Page won the award, he had three dropouts and two assurances. When Taylor won the award, he led the league with 20.5 jackets, which was officially second in the season at the time, behind only 22 Mark Gastineau in 1984.
When Strahan set a record in the sacks, the only defender who received votes for the MVP was linebacker Brian Urlacher, although Strahan was named DPOY. Rams’ QB Kurt Warner won the MVP.
Here are the only defensive players who have since received MVP votes:
|2002||Derrick Brooks||LB||1||Rich Gannon, QB|
|2003||Ray Lewis||LB||2||Peyton Manning, QB|
|2008||James Harrison||LB||3||Peyton Manning, QB|
|2014||JJ Watt||DE||13||Aaron Rodgers, QB|
|2014||Bobby Wagner||DE||1||Aaron Rodgers, QB|
Historically, defensive players have not liked this award very much. The FanDuel bookmaker does not currently list odds for an MVP.