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Mathis takes down Manning

Mathis takes down Manning.

Good stat courtesy of Bill Barnwell this week: Robert Mathis has 11.5 sacks, while the rest of his Indianapolis teammates have just 10.5 sacks. Jerrell Freeman is second on the team with 3.5 sacks, Cory Redding has a pair of sacks, and no other Colt has more than one sack. That’s obviously very impressive: no other defensive player in 2013 has even 40% of his team’s sacks, with only LaMarr Woodley (5 sacks), Mario Williams (11), and Robert Quinn (10) having more than one-third of their team’s sacks.

Since the sack became an official statistic in 1982, the record for percentage of team sacks by an individual player was set by right outside linebacker Tim Harris on the 1989 Packers. Green Bay ran a 3-4 defense under Hank Bullough, and Harris had 19.5 of the team’s 34 sacks.  That means 57.4% of all sacks by Packers players that year came from Harris; no other Green Bay player had more than three sacks.

Aldon Smith had 19.5 sacks, too, playing on the 2012 49ers. Last year, San Francisco recorded 38 team sacks, meaning Smith — playing that same ROLB position in the 3-4 defense — had 51.3% of his team’s sacks.  Two other players recorded exactly half of their team’s sacks.  In 1984, when Mark Gastineau (playing at left defensive end in New York’s 4-3 defense) set the sack record, he recorded 22 of the Jets 44 total sacks. Fifteen years later, Football Perspective All Underrated star Simeon Rice (who lined up at right defensive end) had 16.5 of the Cardinals 33 sacks.

Mathis was a star 4-3 defensive end, but he’s already matched his single-season career high in sacks. He’s having perhaps his best season playing as rush linebacker in the system devised by Greg Manusky and Chuck Pagano. And his numbers look even better as a percentage of team sacks. Below are the top 50 leaders from 1982 to 2012 in percentage of team sacks, which is a cut-off deep enough to bring in another Robert Mathis season:

RankPlayerYearTeamPosSchemeDCSacksTm SkPerc
1Tim Harris1989GNBROLB3-4Hank Bullough19.53457.4%
2Aldon Smith2012SFOROLB3-4Vic Fangio19.53851.3%
3Mark Gastineau1984NYJLDE4-3Joe Gardi224450%
4Simeon Rice1999ARIRDE4-3Dave McGinnis16.53350%
5Michael Strahan2001NYGLDE4-3John Fox22.54648.9%
6John Abraham2008ATLRDE4-3Brian VanGorder16.53448.5%
7Ken Harvey1994WASLLB4-3Ron Lynn13.52848.2%
8Mario Williams2008HOURDE4-3Richard Smith122548%
9J.J. Watt2012HOULDE3-4Wade Phillips20.54446.6%
10DeMarcus Ware2011DALROLB3-4Rob Ryan19.54246.4%
11Mario Williams2007HOURDE4-3Richard Smith143145.2%
12Tim Harris1988GNBROLB3-4Hank Bullough13.53045%
13Simeon Rice1996ARIRDE4-3Dave McGinnis12.52844.6%
14Derrick Burgess2005OAKRDE3-4Rob Ryan163644.4%
15DeMarcus Ware2010DALROLB3-4Paul Pasqualoni15.53544.3%
16Bruce Smith1990BUFRDE3-4Walt Corey194344.2%
17Jared Allen2011MINRDE4-3Fred Pagac225044%
18Joey Porter2008MIAROLB3-4Paul Pasqualoni17.54043.8%
19Elvis Dumervil2009DENROLB3-4Mike Nolan173943.6%
20Kevin Greene1990RAMLOLB3-4Fritz Shurmur133043.3%
21Reggie White1988PHILDE4-3Wade Phillips184242.9%
22Neil Smith1993KANLDE3-4Dave Adolph153542.9%
23John Abraham2010ATLLDE4-3Brian VanGorder133141.9%
24Derrick Thomas1996KANLOLB4-3Gunther Cunningham133141.9%
25Jared Allen2007KANRDE4-3Gunther Cunningham15.53741.9%
26Simeon Rice2003TAMRDE4-3Monte Kiffin153641.7%
27Bruce Smith1986BUFRDE3-4Herb Paterra153641.7%
28Tim Harris1992SFOLOLB3-4Bill McPherson174141.5%
29Tamba Hali2011KANROLB3-4Romeo Crennel122941.4%
30Michael Strahan2003NYGLDE4-3Johnnie Lynn18.54541.1%
31Terrell Suggs2010BALLOLB3-4Greg Mattison112740.7%
32Kevin Greene1998CARLOLB3-4Vic Fangio153740.5%
33Bruce Smith1994BUFRDE3-4Walt Corey102540%
34John Abraham2007ATLRDE4-3Mike Zimmer102540%
35Dwight Freeney2009INDRDE4-3Larry Coyer13.53439.7%
36Tony Bennett1992GNBROLB3-4Ray Rhodes13.53439.7%
37Jim Jeffcoat1989DALRDE4-3Dave Wannstedt11.52939.7%
38Mark Gastineau1983NYJLDE4-3Joe Gardi194839.6%
39John Abraham2001NYJRDE4-3Ted Cottrell133339.4%
40Jason Taylor2002MIARDE4-3Jim Bates18.54739.4%
41Kevin Greene1989RAMLOLB3-4Fritz Shurmur16.54239.3%
42Kamerion Wimbley2006CLEROLB3-4Todd Grantham112839.3%
43Julius Peppers2008CARRDE4-3Mike Trgovac14.53739.2%
44Andre Carter2002SFOLDE4-3Jim Mora12.53239.1%
45Bryan Cox1992MIAROLB3-4Tom Olivadotti143638.9%
46Simeon Rice2005TAMRDE4-3Monte Kiffin143638.9%
47Tamba Hali2009KANROLB3-4Clancy Pendergast8.52238.6%
48Lawrence Taylor1989NYGROLB3-4Bill Belichick153938.5%
49Doug Martin1982MINLDE3-4Bob Hollway11.53038.3%
50Robert Mathis2008INDDE4-3Ron Meeks11.53038.3%

Rice and John Abraham are the only players who made the top-50 four times; that may be a good argument to bolster the resumes of two borderline Hall of Fame players. Harris was no one-year wonder, either: he’s on the list two other times. The only other players to appear three times are Bruce Smith and Kevin Greene. Other than Smith, only four other times did a 3-4 defensive end make the list, while other than Greene, just twice did a 3-4 left outside linebacker appear.

  • It’s interesting that Neil Smith makes the list in a season where he was playing with a (by the letter of the law) Hall of Fame pass rusher. One would expect it to take not just an elite pass rusher but also a lack of another pass rusher to end up on this list.

  • Richie

    Just in case anybody is interested:

    After hearing a lot of people talk about how Romo and Peyton Manning are chokers in the clutch, I got to thinking which quarterbacks have been the best and/or worst with games on the line. So I thought I’d borrow the “win probability added” concept from baseball and apply it to quarterbacks. So I’ve been going game-by-game to look and see how much WPA each QB had for drives that began in the 4th quarter (or overtime). I’m only using win percentages when the QB is on the field. So kickoffs, punts and field goal attempts don’t add or subtract. Case Keenum drove his team in position to kick a game-tying field goal at the end of the Colts game. His team had a 38% chance of winning when he spiked the ball for the field goal attempt. But after the miss, they had a 0% chance. He doesn’t get penalized for that.

    The process is a bit tedious. I’ve completed weeks 8 and 9.

    In Week 8, Matt Stafford added nearly one win probability point for the Lions in the comeback against Dallas. .847 WPA came in that game-winning drive. According to PFR, the Lions had a 0.00% chance of winning the game when the Lions took possession with 1:02 left. A lot of people might want to blame Romo for that loss, but he actually finished 3rd for the week with .157 WPA. Robert Griffin had the worst fourth quarter of the week. Washington had a 32.7% chance of winning when the Redskins took possession on their own 20 with the score tied at the beginning of the quarter. Griffin had 3 straight incompletions and punted, dropping their WP by almost 9%. That doesn’t even count Sav Rocca’s 15-yard punt, which cost another 5%. Griffin was sacked and fumbled on the next possession.

    Here are all QB’s for Week 8:
    Stafford 0.979
    Brady 0.177
    Romo 0.157
    Smith, A 0.085
    Brees 0.012
    Manning, P 0.010
    Newton 0.000
    Glennon 0.000
    Ryan 0.000
    Palmer 0.000
    Simms 0.000
    Dalton 0.000
    Cousins 0.000
    McCoy 0.000
    Henne 0.000
    Ponder 0.000
    Rodgers 0.000
    Manning, E -0.007
    Tannehill -0.012
    Barkley -0.013
    Lewis -0.016
    Pryor -0.056
    Roethlisberger -0.072
    Wilson -0.098
    Clemens -0.110
    Campbell -0.142
    Griffin -0.175

    In Week 9, Romo had a big interception, but then rebounded with the biggest scoring drive of the week, picking up .757 WPA for the drive. He ended up as the third-best QB of the week. Andrew Luck’s comeback against Houston was the top performance. The worst was Mike Glennon’s four drives that ended in punts against Seattle.

    Luck 0.516
    Rivers 0.476
    Romo 0.401
    Ponder 0.337
    Campbell 0.327
    McCown 0.269
    Griffin 0.230
    Wilson 0.180
    Dalton 0.138
    Locker 0.086
    Smith, A 0.066
    Newton 0.057
    Keenum 0.018
    Brady 0.001
    Barkley 0.000
    Pryor 0.000
    Foles 0.000
    McGloin 0.000
    Roethlisberger -0.002
    Ryan -0.004
    Smith, G -0.035
    Flacco -0.055
    Tannehill -0.061
    Wallace -0.111
    Brees -0.137
    Clemens -0.184
    Tuel -0.301
    Glennon -0.570

  • Chase Stuart

    Mathis finished the year with 19.5 of the team’s 42 sacks, exactly matching DeMarcus Ware’s production, and putting him in a tie for tenth on the list.