Steelers

Watt named AFC Defensive Player of the Month

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Steelers linebacker T.J. Watt (90) -- MATT SUNDAY / DKPS

T.J. Watt has worked his way into the conversation for NFL Defensive Player of the Year with his performance this season.

Thursday, he took home a different honor, being named AFC Defensive Player of the Month for November.

Watt had 16 tackles, nine quarterback hits, 6.5 sacks and two forced fumbles in November, taking over the AFC lead in sacks with 12.5. That leaves him just 3.5 sacks behind James Harrison's team-record of 16 sacks set in 2008 when Harrison won NFL Defensive Player of the Year.

Watt needs at least half a sack to surpass his 2018 career-high. Since joining the Steelers in 2017 as the team's first-round draft pick, he has 32.5 sacks, the most of any outside linebacker in the league in that period.

His 32.5 sacks are the 10th most for a player in his first 42 NFL games since the league made sacks an official statistic in 1982.

Watt also has recorded at least half a sack in nine consecutive games, the longest current streak in the NFL. It's also one game shy of the team record of 10 consecutive games with at least half a sack set by LaMarr Woodley in the 2009 and 2010 seasons. The Steelers (7-5) have gone 7-2 in those games, including posting a 3-1 record last month.

Watt's streak is the longest single-season stretch with at least half a sack in Steelers history.

He also ranks first in the league in takeaways forced with nine, having recorded one interception, five forced fumbles and three fumble recoveries.

This is the first time in his three-year career that Watt has won a monthly award from the NFL. Last season, he was named to his first Pro Bowl.

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