Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker T.J. Watt is determined to break the NFL’s all-time sack record on Sunday against the Baltimore Ravens.

Watt is one sack short of tying the NFL’s all-time sack record, which is held by former New York Giants defensive end Michael Strahan. The Wisconsin product will enter Pittsburgh’s game in Baltimore with 21.5 sacks, a truly unbelievable mark when you consider he’s missed two games with injury.

While Watt has his eyes on that mark, and the NFL’s Defensive Player of the Year award he’s never won, the Steelers could potentially steal a playoff spot away from the Indianapolis Colts should they lose to the Jacksonville Jaguars.

“I only get one chance at this,” Watt said this week, via the Associated Press. “You only get to play for so long. It has consumed a lot of my life and I’m completely OK with that. The people around me truly push me and understand my obsession with this game and wanting to be the best.”

Who holds NFL’s single-season sack record?

Strahan broke the record in 2001 with the Giants in one of the more memorable seasons in NFL history by a defensive player.


Jared Allen and Justin Houston have come within a half-sack of breaking Strahan’s record. Aaron Donald and Watt’s brother J.J. finished two sacks shy of the record in 2012 and 2014, respectively.

Most sacks in a season NFL

The most sacks by one player in a single NFL season is 22.5, a mark held by Strahan, as mentioned above. Watt enters Week 18 with 21.5.

While normally we’d attribute Watt’s positioning to break this record as due to the extra game on the NFL schedule, he’s played in just 14 games this year, missing two due to injury. Watt’s been playing through — at the very least — a bruised rib cage.

Watt recorded four sacks of Baker Mayfield on Sunday night against the Cleveland Browns, putting him in a good position to break the record. This week, he was voted the team MVP of the Steelers for the third consecutive year.

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