Report: Steelers' T.J. Watt Believed to Have Suffered Torn Pec Injury vs. Bengals

Rob Goldberg@@TheRobGoldbergFeatured Columnist IVSeptember 11, 2022

KANSAS CITY, MO - JANUARY 16: Pittsburgh Steelers outside linebacker T.J. Watt (90) drops into coverage in the third quarter of an AFC wild card playoff game between the Pittsburgh Steelers and Kansas City Chiefs on Jan 16, 2022 at GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, MO. (Photo by Scott Winters/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Scott Winters/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Pittsburgh Steelers star T.J. Watt is believed to have suffered a torn pectoral during Sunday's 23-20 overtime victory against the Cincinnati Bengals, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter.

Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk reported the Steelers are holding out hope that it's only a partial tear, which would allow Watt to return sooner.

Watt reportedly will undergo scans Monday to confirm the diagnosis.

As he walked off the field in the fourth quarter, the CBS cameras captured him immediately appearing to say he injured his pectoral muscle. The team confirmed that was the source of the issue.

Watt suffered a knee injury in his team's last preseason game, but head coach Mike Tomlin said afterward there was "no long-term concern."

The Steelers need the pass-rusher healthy if they are going to stay in contention in the deep AFC North.

Watt is coming off his best season in the NFL, tying the all-time record with 22.5 sacks and 21 tackles for loss on the way to the Defensive Player of the Year award. It's a continuation of an incredible start to his career, with four Pro Bowls in his first five seasons and three first-team All-Pro honors.

He had 72 sacks in his first five seasons in the league, including at least 13 each of the last four years.

Pittsburgh's defense would take a major step back if Watt misses the kind of time that could be required to heal a significant pec injury. Alex Highsmith will need to fill a bigger role in the pass rush alongside Cameron Heyward until he's back on the field.