Ben Roethlisberger and T.J. Watt could both make history during Sunday's home game against the Tennessee Titans. Roethlisberger is just 27 passing yards away from passing draft classmate Philip Rivers for fifth all-time on the NFL's career passing list. Watt is one sack away from breaking former teammate James Harrison's single season sack record of 16 sacks set during the 2008 season.
Roethlisberger, who recently became the sixth quarterback to throw for over 3,000 yards in 15 different seasons, is currently sixth all-time with 63,414 career passing yards. Rivers, who was selected seven spots ahead of Roethlisberger in the 2004 NFL Draft, threw for 63,440 yards during his 17-year career. Rivers retired this past offseason after helping lead the Colts to the playoffs during his lone season in Indianapolis. Roethlisberger is hoping for a similar ending if this is indeed his final season as the Steelers' quarterback.
Watt enters Sunday's game with 16 sacks despite missing two games earlier this season. He tied Harrison's record after recording 3.5 sacks of Lamar Jackson during Pittsburgh's Week 13 win over the Ravens. During that game, Watt joined Hall of Famer Reggie White as the only players in NFL history to record at least 13 sacks in four consecutive seasons.
The league's Defensive Player of the Year in 2008, Harrison tallied 16 sacks, 101 tackles, and a league-high seven forced fumbles that season. Harrison capped off his stellar campaign with a 100-yard interception return for a score in the Steelers' 27-23 win over the Cardinals in Super Bowl XLIII. Harrison, who didn't become a starter until he was 29 years old, was a Pro Bowler each season from 2007-11. Harrison, who passed Jason Gildon as the franchise's career sack leader in 2016, tallied 80.5 sacks during his time with the black and gold.
One of the top candidates to win this year's Defensive Player of the Year Award, Watt has an outside shot at becoming only the third defensive player to win league MVP. Watt's MVP candidacy was recently championed by Roethlisberger.
"T.J. is seriously one of the best players I've ever played against, and I've played against some really good defensive guys," Roethlisberger said. "He truly is a special player. I'm glad I've haven't been sacked by him. He is a game-changer and a game-wrecker. I've been a part of guys like that -- Troy Polamalu -- who can change a football game. It doesn't happen on defense that often. To be a literal game-changer on defense is something completely special.
"He should be recognized more than just [Defensvie Player of the Year]. He should absolutely get MVP votes as well because that's the type of player that he is."