KANSAS CITY, Mo. — This season, Pittsburgh Steelers pass rusher TJ Watt tied NFL Hall of Famer Michael Strahan’s single-season sack record with 22.5 sacks.
With such a powerful presence coming to face the Kansas City Chiefs in the playoffs, Chiefs fans may assume that the Chiefs’ offensive line may be in trouble; but that may not be the case.
Even with multiple injuries to the Chiefs OL, Pro Football Focus and ESPN have graded the Chiefs pass protection among the best in the league.
TJ Watt has only played the Chiefs three times since he entered the league in 2017. He has not registered a sack yet.
Watt hasn’t registered many stats in these matchups at all.
But this is different: this is playoff time. In the playoffs, big time players make big plays and Watt will be looking to do the same.
The Chiefs offensive line has been in flux recently; right tackle Lucas Niang recently went to the injured reserve with a torn patellar tendon and Kyle Long has been active for the past few games returning from his injuries.
Andrew Wylie has been filling in relatively well at right tackle and the Chiefs have shown ways to help him against premier pass rushers with chip blocks by the running back and with a lot of quick passes.
When the Chiefs faced the Steelers two weeks ago, defensive tackle Cameron Heyward and edge rusher Alex Highsmith were the Steelers to get sacks in the game; a game that was 30-0 in the third quarter.
The main thing that will help the Pittsburgh pass rush is the Pittsburgh secondary holding the Chiefs’ receivers in check.
If they can’t do that, then the pass rush will look nonexistent, just like last game.