Unsurprisingly, Pittsburgh Steelers outside linebacker T.J. Watt has set the franchise record for most sacks in the first three games of the season with six. That pace — which would beat his NFL single-season record pace by 50% if carried over a year — is incredible. But what Alex Highsmith has done on the other side of the Steelers’ defense has nearly been its equal.
Coming into this season, only two players in Steelers history, dating back to when the sack became an official statistic in 1982, had more than four in the team’s first three games of the season. Chad Brown had 4.5 in 1995 and Ed Nelson set the record with five in 1984.
Watt has obviously eclipsed Nelson’s record, but Highsmith nearly did, too. The Steelers’ outside linebacker understudy has 4.5 sacks through three weeks. If not for Watt’s assault on the stat sheet, we might be talking more about Highsmith’s historic start to the 2023 season.
Furthermore, while Watt was feasting on a first-time start in San Francisco 49ers right tackle Colton McKivitz and a rookie in Cleveland Browns replacement Dawand Jones, Highsmith had to deal with All-Pro Trent Williams and former top 10 pick Jedrick Wills the first two weeks.