T.J. Watt is in good standing to win NFL Defensive Player of the Year after tying Michael Strahan’s all-time record for sacks in a single season during Sunday’s win over the Baltimore Ravens However, he would’ve loved to have one more thing next to his name that appeared to happen, but was taken away from him.
The Steelers were reportedly denied an appeal this week that would’ve given him the solo record. Watt sacked Ravens’ quarterback Tyler Huntley in the second quarter to tie the record at 22.5 sacks for the season, but the play in question came during the first quarter.
In the first quarter, Watt tackled Huntley after a botched snap and knocked the ball loose, but the official scorer ruled Huntley was a runner and therefore it was not a sack.
After the game, Watt appeared to disagree with the ruling, adding that Huntley could’ve still thrown the ball.
“It was empty [backfield] and there was a bad snap,” he told Sports Illustrated. “[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. 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.”
The Steelers told ProFootballTalk that they appealed the play with the Elias Sports Bureau, but they were denied. Elias Sports Bureau agreed with the official scoring in Baltimore that Huntley was indeed a runner and therefore, could not be counted as a sack.
Had they ruled differently, Watt would have had 23.5 sacks and had the record to himself.