Watt was called for roughing the passer after the hit and fined for "forcibly hitting in the knee area or below."
Steelers linebacker T.J. Watt is officially appealing the $20,054 fine for his hit on Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan last Sunday, per ESPN's Adam Schefter. Pittsburgh was instructed to take the money out of Watt's paycheck if he did not appeal, Schefter reported on Friday.
Watt's fine was for "forcibly hitting in the knee area or below" during a sack on Ryan during Pittsburgh's Week 6 win over the Falcons. The 24-year-old linebacker was called for roughing the passer on the play.
Watt is tied with his brother J.J., a defensive end for the Houston Texans, atop the league standings for sacks, with six through six weeks. J.J. was surprised by the fine by younger brother received, saying that it was "insanity."
Watt sacked Ryan three times during Sunday's 41-17 win. He discussed the roughing the passer call after the game, saying "I understand the rules. I'm not a dirty player."
He added: "I tried to pull off him at the end. Whether the ref saw it or not, I understand why they call it. It was a low hit. But I tried to pull my arms off. ... It puts us in a bind because I don't know what else I can do."
Steelers coach Mike Tomlin also expressed frustration with the officiating and accepted a $25,000 fine for his post-game press conference comments.
"Man, these penalties are costing people games and jobs," Tomlin said. "We gotta get 'em correct. And so I'm pissed about it, to be quite honest with you. But that's all I'm gonna say on it."
Pittsburgh plays in Cincinnati on Sunday as they take on the Bengals at 1:00 p.m. ET.