How To Read NFL Team sacks Page
Pass rush is an important aspect of a team defense, although it isn’t the complete way to evaluate how good a defense is. As you flip through you might notice some defenses have a good pass rush and get to the quarterback, but are allowing a hefty amount of points to come with it. To get a better sense of what defenses are dominating on all fronts, the defensive rating factors in just about everything you’d want to determine how good a defense is. This is also a good spot to see what defenses are also bringing fantasy value through sacks.
Totals and per game numbers will generally go hand in hand. In the beginning of the season, the numbers are going to be a smaller sample size, so there is a chance they do not hold up at those numbers if they got off to a hot start. That defense could have played a couple of weak offensive lines to start the season, where things will even out as the season goes along. The lesson here is to understand more of the story instead of just sorting through the first few weeks. An injury to a defensive lineman or linebacker that has a big impact on their pass rush might limit their sacks during a portion of the season.
The slider above can help you narrow down specific weeks. This gives you more control in comparison to using a default setting. Throughout the season you are going to see stretches that may need to be checked out more. If a team makes a trade for a pass rusher, that defense might be thriving from Week 8 to Week 12. Once the postseason hits, you will have the option to switch over and see who is getting to the quarterback in the playoffs.
What Makes A Good Pass Rush?
There are a lot of different factors for having a good pass rush. It can be done in different ways as well. It is a larger piece of the puzzle, as opposing teams throughout the season will also factor into how good a defense’s pass rush can be. Starting with the defensive line, we see a lot of teams go about this in different ways. Of course playing a 3-4 or a 4-3 is going to be the starting point. Defensive lineman work as a team, because we have seen dominant defensive lineman get double teamed to help open things up for other defensive lineman. One big example of this was Aaron Donald, who came off a 20.5 sack season and ended up with just 12.5 the next. Now those are still very good numbers either way, but the Rams still ranked as a top pass rush team in both seasons.
Having those edge rushers is a big advantage, especially if they are filled with various pass rush moves and have a ton of speed. We have seen a lot of edge rushers go this route and they make things tough on opposing offensive lineman. Whenever a defense can rely on a few names to generate pressure just on elite talent, this is going to free up others to move into pass coverage, or help their pass rush numbers as well. Linebacking cores are tasked with more duties than ever before as they have to deal with more tight end coverage or zone coverage schemes. Now there are still some strong linebackers that excel in pass rushing abilities.
As mentioned below, secondaries can help out a defense by making a quarterback hold onto the ball a bit longer. Being able to make a quarterback look through more reads is a big help for the front seven and getting to the quarterback. Coaching is another area where teams can really have an advantage. Some head coaches and defensive coordinators specialize in providing a strong pass rush. Alongside talent there is a reason for why teams have so much consistency in this department, even after replacing a few names. It is the coaching.
Why Do Defenses Perform Better At Home Or On The Road?
The page will break down total numbers, as well as sacks generated on the road and at home. Some times there actually is no rhyme or reason to this, because if you look at it, a team’s schedule is broken up by eight games at home and eight games on the road. Defenses might just play better at home because of the atmosphere and play with more of an edge. An overall strong defense might not have heavy splits because they are just solid all around.
The schedule plays a massive part into this. You are going to have consistent division schedule where that will be three opponents on the road and at home. But the out of division games could create an unfair road or home schedule to where that hurts the sack numbers. If a team faces good offensive lines for the most part on the road in their non division games and easier teams at home, then the numbers are going to potentially show that.
How Secondaries Play Into Team Sacks
You may have heard the term “coverage sack”. This is when a defense makes the quarterback hold onto the ball longer and progress through multiple reads because nobody is open. With this, it gives a chance for more sacks to occur. The year to year correlation changes a bit when we factor in what’s more important to getting sacks between defensive backs and the front seven. We can say they both play their part. But secondaries that can keep the ball in the quarterback’s hands an extra second can have a major difference in getting sack numbers. Looking at more recent numbers we saw mix of top defenses having both good and bad secondaries.
How Opposing Offenses Factor Into Team Sacks
When playing an opposing offense, there are a few factors that can allow them to be more or less vulnerable to sacks. The offensive line is always a good starting point because bad offensive lines simply give up more sacks. Whether they began the season bad or are dealing with injuries, an offensive line is going to be the first thing to let down against a good pass rush. Even one injury to the offensive line can begin to derail pass protection. Teams can offset a bad offensive line by throwing the ball quicker. Getting the ball out on quick screens and shorter routes are going to negate the pressure coming to them. New England is extremely good at this where they get the ball out quick where opposing defenses can’t get to the quarterback.
Opposing team’s play styles are also important. If a team is heavy on running the ball, then the obvious occurs, because you can’t get sacks if a team isn’t passing the ball often. Looking through recent numbers of teams allowing few sacks per game, they either had a strong offensive line, or they ran the ball at an above average rate. Younger quarterbacks might take more sacks because they are a bit inexperienced in throwing the ball away or are just not making their reads quick enough. A mobile quarterback also might try to extend the play and therefor it gives more chances to wrap him up behind the line.
Defensive sacks is a standard scoring set whether you are playing IDP leagues or just standard fantasy football where you need to set a team defense. Starting with team defenses, we can generally project more easily how many sacks a team will get in comparison to interceptions and overall turnovers. They are a bit fluky where sacks can be projected because we have more look at the schedule and how the pass rush has performed. sacks are going to be 1-2 fantasy points depending on your league scoring. They are the base of your weekly score because you can’t rely on turnovers or touchdowns to keep you on pace if that defense gives up a few points. It is a good floor stat, where if a team gets 3-4 sacks in a game those points can help negate some of the loss if they give up 24 points that week. Teams that generate sacks correlate more with higher fantasy football finishes in scoring. On occasion a bad pas rush team will have more turnover luck which helps cover those weaknesses.
As for IDP leagues, sacks will be factored into an individual player’s scoring. However, tackles are what drives a player’s fantasy scoring. That is why we see linebackers score so well because they generate the most tackles. Linebackers that record sacks score well too, but they don’t have that week to week consistency at times. A player is more likely to record consistent tackles each week over sacks. Now if your league requires you to start true defensive lineman, then we will want to look more at sacks. We have seen some consistent names in this department, and they will be the ones to project a bit higher. However there are always new names emerging as pass rushers each season because of changes in schemes, but also because of their own growth.
Best Pass Rush Teams Of All-Time
The Chicago Bears throughout league history have had some very good defenses during different eras. In 1984 they had 72 sacks as a team, which is the most in league history. Then in 1987 they had 70 sacks, which is the third most of all-time. That 1984 team lost in the conference championship, but were one of the top defensive teams in the league. The pass rush was something else. There were three players with double digit sacks, and it started with Richard Dent, who had 17.5 sacks that season. Dan Hampton had 11.5. Overall the front four were lethal, as Steve McMichael also had ten sacks. There were names like Otis Wilson, Mike Singletary, and Tod Bell who also chipped in. A few years later we saw them produce 70 sacks with a lot of the same names.
The 1989 Vikings were one of the top pass rush teams of all-time and finished with 71 sacks. While they failed to make it out of the first round of the playoffs, it was hard to beat those 49ers teams during this time. Chris Doleman had 21 sacks in the season, followed by Keith Millard who had 18. Al Noga and Henry Thomas combined for nearly 20 sacks of their own. Both Doleman and Millard were All-Pro that season. During this era we saw mostly defensive lineman make up for most of the sacks. As the game changed we saw more edge rushers and linebackers get in on the action. The 1998 New York Giants had Michael Strahan who is one of the best pass rushers of all time. Him and Chad Bratzke had double digit sacks as the Giants led all teams in sacks that year.
Looking at more recent years, the 1999 Rams led the league in sacks, but this was the year they also had one of the best offenses of all-time to keep teams throwing the ball and chasing games from behind. Kevin Carter had 17 total sacks, while D’Marco Farr had 8.5 of his own. It was a real team effort after that. While they didn’t hit big numbers like the teams above, they had a strong few seasons leading the league in that department. In 2006 the Chargers lost in the first round to New England, but went 14-2 with one of the better defenses during this era. This team finished with 61 total sacks, and were led my Shawne Merriman and Shaun Phillips who had double-digit sacks.
NFL Team sacks FAQ
What Team Has The Most sacks In The NFL 2020?
The Pittsburgh Steelers had the most sacks in the NFL in 2020, finishing with 56 on the season. They averaged 3.5 per game and dominated at home with 4.5 per game. Pittsburgh let up a bit on the road averaging just 2.5.
What Team Has The Least sacks In The NFL 2020?
The Cincinnati Bengals finished with a league low 17 sacks in 2020. The Bengals were considered one of the worst defenses in the league, and averaged just 1.1 per game. This is now the second season in a row where they have averaged under two sacks per game.
What Is The Record For Most Team sacks In A Season?
Back in 1984, the Chicago Bears finished the season with 72 sacks which is the most ever by a defense. They also had 70 a few years after that in 1987. This run for Chicago is why they are considered to be one of the best defenses of all-time.
What Is The Record For Fewest Team sacks In A Season?
As good as we think of Baltimore’s defense, they were not the Ravens back then, but the Baltimore Colts. They finished with just 11 sacks in 1982, and had only 13 the year prior. In that same 1982 season, the Buffalo Bills had just 12 sacks.
What Is The Record For Most Team sacks In A Game?
There is a five way tie with a few teams who generated 12 team sacks in a single game. Dallas did it in 1966 and 1985. St. Louis did it against Baltimore in 1980, and Chicago did it in 1984. Giants in more recent times did it against the Eagles.
Sacks will count in fantasy football for the defense, where they can be between 1-2 points depending on your scoring. sacks will not count against your fantasy quarterback, and they will not lose rushing yards if it is a true pass attempt.
Do Kneel Downs Count As Sacks?
Kneel downs do not count as a sack, because the quarterback must intend to throw the ball. Kneel downs are not considered a pass attempt as they are a rushing attempt used to run time off of the game clock.