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Steelers' T.J. Watt Stays Tied with Michael Strahan After Sack Record Inquiry Denied

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured Columnist IVJanuary 13, 2022

AP Photo/Terrance Williams

T.J. Watt still doesn't hold sole possession of the NFL's single-season sack record.

The Pittsburgh Steelers star tied Michael Strahan's record of 22.5 sacks in a season with one sack during Sunday's win over the Baltimore Ravens. However, some wondered whether he should get credit for another one on a play where he knocked the ball loose from quarterback Tyler Huntley.

Charean Williams of Pro Football Talk reported the Steelers inquired about the play, but the Elias Sports Bureau gave him credit for a tackle for loss and a forced fumble since Huntley had to go to the ground to cover up an errant snap before Watt got there and knocked the ball loose for the turnover.

"It was empty [backfield], and there was a bad snap," Watt said, per Albert Breer of Sports Illustrated. "[Huntley] fell on it, but then he got up. And when he got back up on his two feet, I tackled him and got the ball out. So, I mean, he very well could have still thrown the ball. My understanding was that it was a sack, but apparently, it wasn't, at least according to the statisticians."

While the NFL's first-ever Week 18 gave Watt the opportunity to tie Strahan, he missed two games with injuries and appeared in 15 games instead of the full 17.

The Defensive Player of the Year candidate finished the regular season with 64 tackles, 22.5 sacks, seven passes defended, five forced fumbles and three fumble recoveries while helping lead the Steelers to the playoffs.

They will face the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday in the AFC Wild Card Round.

As for Strahan, the Hall of Famer made history in 2001 with 22.5 sacks to go with 73 tackles, six forced fumbles, two passes defended and one fumble recovery during 16 games.

Strahan's record came with controversy as well, considering Green Bay Packers quarterback Brett Favre took something of a dive on the record-setting sack.

The inquiry into Watt's could-have-been sack isn't the first time question marks have surrounded the record.

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