It looks like T.J. Watt will have to settle for being merely tied atop the record books.
Watt's appeal to the Elias Sports Bureau was denied Wednesday after he sought to be awarded another sack in Sunday's Week 18 win over the Ravens, per Dale Lolley of DK Pittsburgh Sports. Instead, Watt finishes the season with 22.5 sacks, tied with Michael Strahan for the most in a single season all-time.
Watt's claim is based around a play in the first quarter of Sunday's game in which Ravens quarterback Tyler Huntley hit the ground after a botched snap, popped back up briefly but was then brought back down by Watt, who forced a fumble on the play.
This was clearly a passing play… TJ Watt should be credited for a sack pic.twitter.com/GvATYWyjMO— Michael Beck (@MichaelBeck56) January 10, 2022
It was ruled an aborted play due to the bad snap, and Watt was simply credited with a tackle for loss and the forced fumble.
"It was empty [backfield] and there was a bad snap. [Tyler 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,” Watt told Sports Illustrated's Albert Breer. “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.”
Watt later sacked Huntley in the second quarter, tying him with Strahan for the record. Despite this season being the first 17-game campaign in NFL history, Watt played in just 15 games for the Steelers, while Strahan set his original record over 16 games.
Over Watt's first five years in the NFL since being drafted by Pittsburgh in the first round in 2017, he's accumulated 72 sacks and 80 tackles for loss. He led both categories over each of the past two seasons.
The Steelers will travel to Kansas City to face the Chiefs in the wild-card round on Sunday night. Kickoff is set for 8:15 p.m. EST on NBC.