We examined the NFL’s seven sack leaders to project who has the best chance to set a new league record.
While the defensive end of the Cleveland Browns, Myles Garrett remained in the visitors’ locker room last Sunday, with his arm in a sling, the challenge of chasing one of the most famous records of NFL it became apparent.
Garrett tied at linebacker Los Angeles Chargers, Khalil Mack for the second most sacks in the league, with 13, leaving them a stone’s throw away from 22.5, a single-season mark shared by Michael Strahan (2001) and the linebacker of Pittsburgh Steelers, TJ Watt (2021).
“I’ve played through things that should have kept me away in the past, and I’m going to keep fighting,” he said. Garrett before it is known that there is no damage to the structure of the shoulder, and he can play next Sunday against Los Angeles Rams. “We have high hopes for this campaign.
“Nothing like this can stop us, nor can it stop me.”
To be clear, the Garrett He’s not worried about breaking brands. It focuses on helping Brown ones (7-4) to reach the playoffs. But for this to happen, Cleveland you need your All-Pro proceed with a pass that leaves you in the conversation for Defensive Player of the Year.
When it comes to sack marks, staying healthy is key. Strahan He played in all 16 games in 2001, and watts He missed one in 2021, a campaign that already consists of 17 games.
watts is again in a position to break the brand. His two catches in Sunday’s win over the Cincinnati Bengals They gave him 13.5 in 11 games. He is tied for the league lead Danielle Hunter on Minnesota Vikings who scored 1.5 on Monday night against Chicago Bears in his twelfth game. There is more at stake than team success or prestige for hunter who has incentives tied in his contract to his total catch.
Here’s a look at the top seven players in sacks this season, their chances to break the mark, and the obstacles each faces.
TJ Watt, linebacker, Pittsburgh Steelers
Sacks: 13.5 in 11 games
Takes steps for: 21
He can break the record because: He’s done it before. Well more or less. watts He fell hard in 2021 when he wasn’t credited with a sack in the final game of the regular season in Baltimore. This year, however, watts surpass the mark because, unlike 2022, he is healthy, and the emergence of Alex Highsmith gives the Steelers the one, two combinations that prevent offenses from sending double blocks against watts.
Can be shortened because: Pressure from Steelers about transients not constant. Against Brown ones in Week 11, watts and the defensive line struggled to create pressure on the rookie quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson. In half an hour, the Steelers They had no sacks or hits on the quarterback. watts He finally caught the second half with a sack and three hits at quarterback. — Brooke Pryor
Key stat: With two sacks Sunday, watts he added 91 in just 98 games. This is the fewest number of games for a person to reach 90 catches. His brother, JJ Watt second in that list with 102.
Myles Garrett, defensive end, Cleveland Browns
Sacks: 13.0 in 11 games
Takes steps to: 20.1
You can break the record because: Garrett He has the ability to get multiple sacks in one game. Had 3.5 sacks in one win Tennessee at the start of the campaign. Two years ago, he had 4.5 sacks in one win Chicago. Taken out, Garrett He is having the best season of his career.
It may fail because: Despite the excellent supporting cast he has at the helm, Garrett faced the highest double-block rate among outside rushing specialists in the league (31.8 percent). Garrett He continued to fight despite double blocks, but often, his teammates cleaned up the pressure he created with a catch. Besides, Garrett sustained a shoulder injury. — Jake Trotter
Key stat: He is the fourth player with at least 10 sacks in six of his first seven seasons. NFLOBTAIN Reggie White, By Miller y DeMarcus Ware.
Khalil Mack, linebacker, Los Angeles Chargers
Sacks: 13.0 in 11 games
Takes steps to: 20.1
He can break the record because: Just watch the game of Chargers in Week 4 vs. Las Vegas Raiders. Mack He had six sacks — a franchise record in a game — two of which resulted in fumbles. Mack He could break this record because of his ability to pile up sacks in bunches, as he has proven all season. He scored two on Sunday night against the Baltimore Ravens.
It can be short because: Chargers They have one of the best duos of pressing specialists in the entire league with Mack y Joey Bosa but the latter suffered a foot strain during their Week 11 loss to Green Bay Packers which sent him to the injured reserve list. With Bosa for at least the next three commitments, the focus is limited to Mack and can deal with rising double blocks and help maneuvers, though that didn’t stop him on Sunday night. — Chris Rhim
Key Stat: His 98-yard catches for the season lead the NFL.
THEY NEED TWO OF THE BIG GAMES TO GET THERE
Danielle Hunter, linebacker, Minnesota Vikings
Sacks: 13.5 in 12 games
Steps are taken to: 19.1
You can break the record because: hunter He’s a tireless, experienced pass rusher who still has speed and might be stronger than ever after coming back from neck and pectoral injuries in 2020 and 2021. And, opposing defenses can’t double block. always, thanks to the unpredictable nature of the defense. coordinator scheme Vikings, Brian Flores. hunter there is a financial incentive to stack catches. He’s already earned a $2 million bonus for 12.5 sacks, and could increase that to $3 million with 14, according to the Roster Management System.
You can miss because: Catches are created in part by luck and circumstances, and while hunter stacking them all season, his overall pressure rate (9.7 percent) placed him No. 41 in NFL. So unless he accelerates his pressure rate, he should maintain his incredible pressure-to-sack efficiency ratio. He had 1.5 sacks on Monday night against Bears. — Kevin Seifert
Key Stat: Leading the way NFL in tackles for loss yards with 18.
Sacks: 12.0 in 11 games
Running for: 18.5
The record may be broken because: Jaguars They are scheduled to face rookie quarterbacks Bryce Young on Carolina Panthers y Levis on Tennessee Titans (as well as Thompson-Robinson on Brown oneswho suffered the disorder last Sunday), and the nomad from Cincinnati Bengals, Jake Browning. If the Jaguars can confuse guys and make them hold onto the ball, that allows Allen and the rest of the defense reached the catch. Allen He had 2.5 sacks on Sunday against the rookie of the Houston Texans, CJ Stroud.
It can fail because: The arrests of Allen They come in bunches, (10.5 in four games) and have a history of droughts. He went seven and eight games without a sack the last two years. — Mike DiRocco
Key stat: Sunday was his fourth game with multiple sacks, tying him Calais Campbell (2017) y Yannick Ngakoue (2017) for the largest amount of a campaign in the history of Jaguars.
WITH THE ODDS AGAINST
Sacks: 11.5 in 11 games
Running for: 17.8
He can break the record because: Last season, Parsons He had six games with at least two sacks on his way to finishing with 13.5, so he’s hot. Now he has four sacks in the last two games, and is facing quarterbacks who like to throw the ball. Gene Smith on Seattle Seahawks He will visit Thursday, and was struck out six times in his last outing. When it all comes down to the last game, Sam Howell on Washington Commanders He has been arrested 55 times.
He could fail because: Using history as a guide, he’s needed 11.5 sacks over the last six games. He has yet to have more than 9.5 sacks in any six-day stretch, and that comes in his rookie campaign. You need to turn on more LP than you did. It is possible, but unlikely. If another defensive dallas They can always exert pressure, which helps their cause. — Todd Archer
Key stat: Had a 40 percent win rate against pass screens in Sunday’s win over Commandersraised his rate for the campaign to 34.6 percent. Joey Bosa The highest score in that metric in a single season was recorded at 33.7 percent in 2017, when record-keeping began.
Maxx Crosby, defensive end, Las Vegas Raiders
Sacks: 11.5 in 12 games
Takes steps to: 16.3
The record can be broken because: The conditioning of Crosby This is his strength: –he just doesn’t tire, say his opponents and teammates– and his production shows that correlation. Consider that, heading into the season, 20.5 of his 37.5 career sacks Crosby They reached the last nine games of Raiders in the Bell. Another emergence late in the season could improve the odds of Crosby.
You may fail because: Crosby He currently has 11.5 on 28 catches at Raidersof which only 3.5 came from the opposite coast of Crosby. With very little production from the opposite side (Malcolm Koonce there are two catches, the rookie Tyree Wilson brings 1.5), teams will send double and triple blocks against Crosby even more so, if they haven’t sent help from the backfield. — Paul Gutierrez
Key stat: His 50 quarterback hurries this season lead the NFL.