Aldon Smith, J.J. Watt three short of Michael Strahan’s sack record

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With two games to play, 49ers linebacker Aldon Smith and Texans defensive end J.J. Watt both have a real chance of breaking Michael Strahan’s NFL record for sacks in a season.

Smith has been the league leader for most of the season, but on Sunday Watt sacked Andrew Luck three times, while Smith didn’t sack Tom Brady at all, and that moved Watt into a tie with Smith for the league lead, at 19.5 on the season. Strahan had 22.5 sacks in 2001, the most since the NFL began keeping sacks as an official stat in 1982.

So if either Smith or Watt records 3.5 sacks in the last two games, he’ll break Strahan’s record. That’s definitely doable. And it’s definitely OK with Strahan, who wrote on Twitter yesterday that records are meant to be broken.

Whether Smith or Watt actually breaks the record or not, they’ve both already had outstanding seasons: In 22 of the 30 seasons since the NFL began keeping sacks as a stat, 19.5 sacks would have been enough to lead the league.

53 responses to “Aldon Smith, J.J. Watt three short of Michael Strahan’s sack record

  1. Hopefully DPOY voters get this right for once. While Smith is having a remarkable season, Watt’s numbers are out of this world. Not to mention Smith is playing with about 5 other All Pros on the same D. Due to injuries for Houston Watt is basically doing it all himself. Check out profootballfocus, its really not even close.

  2. I think it will come down to week 17. This week they’re both playing teams with run-based offenses, but in the last week of the season Watt gets Andrew Luck again and Aldon is blessed with a game against arguably one of the worst offensive lines in league history.

  3. Watt had 10 solo tackles, 6 TFL, 3 sacks, 4 QB hits and a forced fumble.

    Who said last week he had no shot at DPoY? Oh yeah, not very smart people…

  4. I remember going to the Strahan record game. It was rescheduled because of 9/11. It was the second game of the season and they moved the game all the way to the end of the season. It was a sad and surreal year and a mediocre Giants season, but I will always remember going to that game. Good luck to both of the guys, they deserve it.

  5. I would love to see a stat that takes into account how much more everyone is throwing the ball in today’s NFL. Maybe a sack per qb dropback number. It seems like everyone talks about inflated passing numbers, but along with that comes these inflated sack numbers too.

  6. JJ Watt should get MVP. Between the sack numbers, TFL’s, and the passes defensed leading to 4 interceptions, there hasn’t been a season this spectacular by a defensive player in decades.

  7. Watt has another game against the colts. Aldon another against the Cards. Pretty safe to assume that record falls probably to both men.

  8. Let’s be honest, they’d be breaking Gastineau’s record… Strahan’s record comes with a HUGE ASTERISK next to it as his last sack was NOT legitimate

  9. If every player in the NFL were to be put into a real life fantasy draft to reshuffle the league(calm down I’m just making a point)…a guy like Aaron Rodgers would probably be the 1st selection, but JJ Watt would be the 1st defensive selection and probably close to a top-5 pick. The overall effect that Watt has on a game is just ridiculous and as of right now he’s absolutely, without a shadow of a doubt, the best defensive player in the NFL.

  10. bjerols says:Dec 17, 2012 3:55 PM

    Let’s be honest, they’d be breaking Gastineau’s record… Strahan’s record comes with a HUGE ASTERISK next to it as his last sack was NOT legitimate
    _______

    Completely right, except Jared Allen shares that record.

  11. bjerols i was coming on this thread just to say that exact thing. still disgusted at that last sack for strahan. it’s little wonder he’s not upset about losing the record, it’s tainted.

  12. watt may have to break the record this week, because he may be sitting for the last game of the season (or at least playing more sparingly) after the Texans wrap-up this conference.

  13. zacmonte says: Dec 17, 2012 3:33 PM

    As impressive as both of these players are, it’s mind blowing that Watt is putting up these kinds of numbers as a 3-4 D-lineman
    ____________________________________
    The 49ers also run the 3-4, just wanted to let you know that. Which means both are impressive not just Watt.

  14. It is neat to witness all of these records being broken such as,Drew Brees and Tom Brady breaking the passing yards in a season record last seasib and also Adrian Peterson is about to break the rushing yards record,Calvin Johnson JR is about to break the recieving yards record,and you got Watt and Aldon Smith about to break the sack record.

  15. mrgrant23 says: Dec 17, 2012 4:14 PM

    The 49ers also run the 3-4, just wanted to let you know that. Which means both are impressive not just Watt.
    —————————————————
    Smith is an edge rusher in the 3-4 while Watt is an inside DE that moves to DT in the 3-4.

    Big difference.

  16. I think both of these guys are likely to break the sack record. Tip of the hat to both of these young guys. A tip of the hat to all the players knocking at the door of the records that have the potential to be beat this year! AP coming back from an ACL to leading the league in rushing is impressive enough on its own but the fact he can beat the all time rush record for a single season is astonishing. Also Calvin Johnson Jr. knocking at the door for receiving yards in a single season. An exciting year of football this has been for everyone except for Chiefs season ticket holders like myself!

  17. With all the passing in the league now, it’s not only passing records that are going to go down, but pass defense records as well.

    That said, these are a couple great players and I wish them well in getting the record.

  18. zacmonte says: Dec 17, 2012 3:33 PM

    As impressive as both of these players are, it’s mind blowing that Watt is putting up these kinds of numbers as a 3-4 D-lineman
    ——————————————————

    Yes the Texans and 49ers both run the 3-4 defense, but JJ watt is an INTERIOR LINEMAN on the 3-4. Aldon is an outside linebacker and is supposed to pressure the quarterback. JJ is supposed to be stopping the run and opening up lanes for linebackers, the fact he has this many sacks is simply unheard of.

  19. cheapseater says:
    Dec 17, 2012 3:40 PM
    JJ gets another game against the Colts. That record will be broken…

    ———————————-

    Niners play the Cards. Dead heat.

  20. htown1035 says: Dec 17, 2012 4:24 PM
    Smith is an edge rusher in the 3-4 while Watt is an inside DE that moves to DT in the 3-4.

    Big difference.
    ______________________________
    Ok Different position, you got me there. but that is all Watt is supposed to do! Just Rush! Smith is a OLB which means he has to be able to cover too, more talented player. but i am bias as a 49ers fan.

  21. And Aldon drops back into coverage while JJ Watts DOES NOT. It’s not like JJ Watts is doing all of these others things while Aldon is just some single purpose one trick pony. Both are different but better in a different but better way.

  22. mrgrant23 says:

    Ok Different position, you got me there. but that is all Watt is supposed to do! Just Rush! Smith is a OLB which means he has to be able to cover too, more talented player. but i am bias as a 49ers fan.
    ______________________________

    JJ Watt is the superior player. Look at his passes defended, how he blows up running plays, how many sacks, hits and pressures he gets despite being constantly double teamed.

    You know why Aldon Smith has so many sacks? Because most of the time he plays next Justin Smith, who has a bull rush that must be double teamed. Aldon all but disappeared for most of the Pats game, despite not always even being double teamed.

    Aldon is a great pass rusher.
    But JJ Watt is the most dominating defensive player in the league since Reggie White, in all phases.

    BTW I am in fact a Niners fan. I just have to give credit where credit is due.
     

  23. Aldon has Justin Smith/Ahmad Brooks/Ray McDonald/Issac (can’t spell his last name) to work with ….

    JJ Watt has a Clay Matthews wannabe – some other nameless guys – a defensive coordinator that leaves his DBs on an island … Watt is the reason the Texan’s D is anywhere near the top ten.

  24. Funny that everyone has left Von Miller off all the talk of DPOY. Sure he is 3 sacks behind, but the dude only rushes the passer on 3rd downs or passing downs. The other two only have the job of rushing in and trying to take the QB down. While I know Watt does play the run well, his main focus is the passer. Von has to play SAM backer in a 43 defense that he plays coverage on. Watt is not a one trick pony, but Aldon is. Just simple facts.

    I have to say that it is absolutely amazing that all three of those guys were top picks in last years draft….quite impressive if you ask me.

  25. Also, we must remember that Von has 16 sacks, 6 forced fumbles, 1 interception returned for a touchdown, 57 tackles, 3 passes defended and gets to play the Browns and Chiefs the last two games of the year in DENVER. We could have all three players breaking that record.

  26. lionsdraftguy says: Dec 17, 2012 4:55 PM

    Hopefully Aldon Smith breaks his neck, not the record.
    _______________________________________

    Hopefully you will eventually stick your head under water and keep it there until the bubbles stop… Yes I know that was WAY above your level of comprehension. Seriously get a life loser. Go worry about that sorry piece of excrement you folks claim is a football team instead of letting your life revolve around the 49ers. I swear it seems like you are a closet fan. Sorry bandwagon is full

  27. Don’t get me wrong – Watt is freaking amazing, but I disagree with those making the point that Aldon Smith being an OLB somehow diminishes his achievement thus far. As a down lineman, when Watt reads pass, he is rushing the QB every time. Smith drops into coverage maybe 10-20% of the time. While he didn’t get a sack last night, he did come down with an interception.

    And yes – I realize that what Watt is doing as a down lineman in the 3-4 is unprecedented, but if you watch Aldon you’ll see him do some pretty amazing things too. Both of these guys are incredible, but they play different roles for their team. I feel fortunate to have the opportunity to watch either of these guys in their attempts to make history.

  28. zacmonte says:Dec 17, 2012 3:33 PM

    As impressive as both of these players are, it’s mind blowing that Watt is putting up these kinds of numbers as a 3-4 D-lineman
    ———-
    and that Aldon Smith wasn’t even a starter last year. He was more of a “situational” player used alot on 3rd downs.

  29. Smith came VERY close to getting 2 sacks ansd causing a fumble in just the first drive or 2 and did manage to grab a pick. That ball was bouncing all over the place when he grabbed it, but he was there and had the hands to grab it.

  30. “Yes the Texans and 49ers both run the 3-4 defense, but JJ watt is an INTERIOR LINEMAN on the 3-4. Aldon is an outside linebacker and is supposed to pressure the quarterback. JJ is supposed to be stopping the run and opening up lanes for linebackers, the fact he has this many sacks is simply unheard of.”

    ——-
    I’d think it more impressive that a LB gets those sacks if for no other reason, Gastineau, Allen, Strahan and Watts are all linemen. Leads one to believe that linemen get more sacks than LBs…just sayin’

  31. srcnsd says: Dec 17, 2012 5:10 PM

    JJ Watt is the superior player. Look at his passes defended, how he blows up running plays, how many sacks, hits and pressures he gets despite being constantly double teamed.

    You know why Aldon Smith has so many sacks? Because most of the time he plays next Justin Smith, who has a bull rush that must be double teamed. Aldon all but disappeared for most of the Pats game, despite not always even being double teamed.

    Aldon is a great pass rusher.
    But JJ Watt is the most dominating defensive player in the league since Reggie White, in all phases.

    BTW I am in fact a Niners fan. I just have to give credit where credit is due.

    _____________________________________
    I can’t argue against Watt but to say Aldon just disappeared is crazy. After he abused Brady throughout the first few drives, they started blatantly holding him and everyone mentioned it.

  32. Von Miller plays against the browns & chiefs the next two weeks. 7-8 sacks to end the season and win DPOY.

  33. “I’d think it more impressive that a LB gets those sacks if for no other reason, Gastineau, Allen, Strahan and Watts are all linemen. Leads one to believe that linemen get more sacks than LBs…just sayin’”

    Just sayin’… you’re bass ackwards. Since 1982, the top 25 3-4 lineman have averaged 14.5 sacks/year, while over the same span, the top 25 OLBs have averaged 17.5.

  34. “After he abused Brady throughout the first few drives, they started blatantly holding him and everyone mentioned it.”

    What game were you watching? I saw a guy who benefits from his interior lineman’s push get lost when he went out. I saw a guy not know what the hell to do with the 2.3 sec release of Tom Brady and couldn’t make his mind up whether to drop into coverage or rush, and look lost doing both… as evidenced by his 1 (ONE) combo – not solo, tackle.

  35. “Smith came VERY close to getting 2 sacks ansd causing a fumble in just the first drive or 2 and did manage to grab a pick.”

    Well, since we’re playing horseshoes now, PFF has J.J. credited with 5 knockdowns of Brady and a FF – what does that count for in your book?

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