Pass-rushers can destroy a play even if it does not result in a sack, as showcased by the film.
Previous sack breakdowns:
- Why sacks are a misleading stat for evaluating individual defenders
- Film: Sacks created by the pressure of someone other than the finisher
- Film: Sacks created by excellent coverage
While “assisted sacks” are tremendously impactful moments, a pass-rusher’s effect on the game is not limited solely to plays that result in sacks. There are many ways that a pass-rusher can help the defense win a down even if the play does not end in a sack.
Let’s go over some instances of such plays from the Jets’ 2019 season.
The simplest way for a pass-rusher to cause havoc without the play resulting in a sack is by creating pressure that leads to an ineffective throw.
Quinnen Williams made a good number of these plays throughout the 2019 season. Here, Williams beats the right guard with a double swipe/outside swim combo, quickly getting home to lay a hit on Ryan Fitzpatrick. Forced to get the ball out as soon as he hits the depth of his drop, Fitzpatrick’s hurried throw is picked off by James Burgess. While the interception was called back due to a penalty on Burgess, it takes nothing away from Williams, whose clean one-on-one victory produced a takeaway.