T.J. Watt has been a sack artist since coming into the league. Had he not been hampered by a partially torn pectoral at the beginning of last season, his 77.5 career sack total would look even more impressive. He probably would own the Steelers’ franchise mark, which will soon enough be his, and his path to Canton, Ohio, would’ve been all the easier to see.
Despite that mini-setback, Watt still has a chance to do something pretty special in 2023. If he can record 10 sacks in his first 13 games, he’ll tie his brother for the same number of sacks across their first 100 games.
Pro Football Reference recently unveiled its new Player Span Finder, which tmakes it easier to find answers to questions like “Who has the most sacks in their first 100 games?” Plug in the correct data and you get the current top five (I believe the finder only shows players who actually have played in 100 games, the reason why T.J. isn’t showing up right now)
1. Reggie White – 105
2. J.J. Watt – 87.5
3. DeMarcus Ware – 85.0
4. Bruce Smith – 84.5
5. Von Miller – 82.5
Your annual reminder that every sack stat in NFL history show that Reggie White was not from this world. Setting his almost unattainable pace aside, J.J. Watt sits in second place with 87.5. T.J. isn’t far off on this list with 77.5 across 87 career games. Meaning, if Watt can record 10 sacks over his next 13 contests (games missed don’t ding him because it’s all about games he’s played in), he’ll equal his big brother’s mark. He’ll also join some of the best pass rushers in NFL history.
Ten sacks in 13 games seems like a lofty goal but if anyone can do it, it’s T.J. Watt. He picks up sacks in bunches as much as anybody. Since entering the league in 2017, T.J. ranks second among active players with 16 2+ sack games, only trailing the always-underrated Cameron Jordan, who has 17. Watt’s mark is more than Aaron Donald’s 15 or Myles Garrett’s 14. It’s a quick way to climb the sack leaderboard.
Maybe it should be no surprise considering they share the same DNA, but the Watts’ career arcs have had plenty of overlap. Through their first six seasons, they have a nearly identical number of sacks, T.J. 77.5 and J.J. 76, while both were impacted by serious injury in their sixth season.
Now healthy, T.J. should end the 2023 season around the 90-sack mark and hit triple-digits in 2024. Though he isn’t one to focus much on individual goals anymore, he may match his brother’s total on the nose through the first 10 games of this season and one day, surpass J.J.s’ career total of 114.5, one that would’ve been far higher had it not been for repeated injuries.