Why TJ Watt was denied a straight in the NFL despite losing to Tyler Huntley

There is good news and bad news about TJ Watt’s bid for a record in a single-season NFL dismissal.

The good news: He equaled Michael Strahan’s Giants defense record and finished 22.5 in the season after trying one bag against an AFC North Ravens rival. The bad news is that he was denied an absolute record, even after he forced Baltimore quarterback Tyler Huntley on his first defensive appearance, Steelers.

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Here is the game in question, which apparently shows Watt tying Strahan for 22.5 bags per season. The fact that Watt pushed the ball out of Huntley’s grip and put Pittsburgh on the 28-yard line in Baltimore after his recovery by Henry Mondeaux adds to the greatness of the game:

Except that the game was not officially declared a bag. The reason is that Bradley Bozeman’s center caught the puck, which means that Huntley was credited with a fumble recovery as soon as he picked up the ball. That made him a runner in the back field, even though Watt managed to hit him in the back field for a loss and a smirk.

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Although Watt was not credited with the bag, the game still proved to be extremely important for the Steelers. The turnaround allowed Pittsburgh to kick a goal from the field and get on the board first, 3-0. The match eventually reached extra time in a draw 13:13. The Steelers forced a defensive stop in the next quarter before quarterback Ben Roethlisberger knocked Pittsburgh off the field.

The victory also secured the Steelers in the playoffs after a shocking jolt by the Jaguars of the Colts. The Steelers will be 7 seeded against 2 seeded Kansas City if the Chargers vs. The Raiders don’t end in a draw at “Sunday Night Football.”

It wasn’t bad for Watt either: in the end, he got the elusive bag just before the end of the first half and hit Huntley for a 3-yard loss to first and goal. The Ravens eventually finished with a goal from 24 yards and equalized the game to 3: 3 at half time.

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Now Watt – who has entered the all-time record debate after a four-suction match against the Browns in week 17 – now shares one of the NFL’s most impressive single-season records with a Hall of Fame player. While Watt’s sum of throws comes during the NFL’s extended 17-match season, in 2021 he played only 15 games due to injury. His rate of 1.5 bags per game actually exceeds the 1.41 bags per game from Strahan’s record season in 2002.

Strahan, of course, earned his record against Green Bay when former quarterback Brett Favre stood in his way before surrendering to the ground.

Just another similarity between the two top level defenders of the NFL.


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