The Pittsburgh Steelers have been searching for the pass-rush answer for years. After swinging and missing in the past, they might have finally found the answer.
First-round rookie T.J. Watt displayed a relentless pass rush and versatility in a splashy opening day debut. Watt gobbled up six tackles, two sacks and an interception. He became just the third player to record two-plus sacks and an INT in their first NFL game (since sacks became official in 1982), per NFL Research. The two previous were replacement players Charles Glaze and Tommy Haynes in 1987.
"We felt like we were in the backfield all of the time, but we have to finish plays," Watt said, via ESPN. "We had a few sacks left on the table, from my point of view."
Both of Watt's sacks displayed a relentless pursuit. On the second one, he fought through two blockers, didn't give up on the play and chased DeShone Kizer down from behind.
Watt became the first Steelers player to record two-plus sacks and one pick since Week 14, 2010 (LaMarr Woodley).
"He understands what we need from him, and he goes out and executes," Casey Heyward said of the rookie. "He's a smart rusher. He doesn't put himself in situations where he's out of a play."
For the record: T.J.'s brother, J.J. Watt, did not record his first sack until his third NFL game. J.J. Watt has never finished with two-plus sacks and one-plus INT in any game (89 games played including playoffs). Gauntlet thrown.