CLEVELAND — T.J. Watt made history and wanted more.
Apparently becoming the first rookie in three decades to record two sacks and one interception in an NFL debut wasn’t enough for Watt, an outside linebacker whose playmaking helped the Pittsburgh Steelers seal a 21-18 win over the Cleveland Browns.
“We felt like we were in the backfield all of the time, but we have to finish plays,” Watt said. “We had a few sacks left on the table, from my point of view.”
Watt is the third player to produce the two-and-one in a debut since stats became official. The others were replacement players Charles Glaze and Tommy Haynes in 1987.
The Steelers poured seven sacks on the Browns for the third consecutive time in FirstEnergy Stadium. Watt, who took ownership of the starting job over James Harrison in training camp, executed an Antonio Brown-esque celebration dance after his second sack of DeShone Kizer, swinging his arms left and right and shaking his hips.
“I was just having some fun, just trying to bring some energy,” said Watt, who also had two sacks in his preseason debut. “The guys love seeing a little celebration after a sack.”
Watt’s interception with 1:29 left in the third stunted a promising Browns drive and negated Watt’s unnecessary roughness penalty on the previous play. Watt dipped into zone coverage and leapt for the interception, which he returned 17 yards. He said he was reminding himself not to fumble.
“I was tired,” Watt said.
The Steelers aren’t tired of Watt, whom teammates say hustles relentlessly on every play.
Defensive end Cam Heyward said Watt’s football intelligence is translating.
“He understands what we need from him, and he goes out and executes,” Heyward said. “He’s a smart rusher. He doesn’t put himself in situations where he’s out of a play.”