Posted Mon Dec 7th by Monty
It was third and nine in the second quarter, and Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Matt Cassel was just trying to make a play.
Unfortunately for Cassel, Denver Broncos outside linebacker Elvis Dumervil was right there waiting. Cassel rolled right and, with nowhere to throw, found himself where so many other quarterbacks have already wound up this season: squarely in the sights of 2009’s best pass rusher. Dumervil nabbed the first-year Chief for a three-yard loss and an NFL-best 15th sack on the season.
And Dumervil got that much closer to making history.
Dumervil is one sack away from tying the Broncos’ all-time single-season sack record, 16.0, set by DE/OLB Simon Fletcher in 1992. As the NFL’s leading pass rusher, Dumervil is also on pace to become the first league sack champion in franchise history.
His 15th was part of a dominating performance by the Broncos’ defense that saw Cassel intercepted twice, and Dumervil finished second on the team with five tackles in Denver’s 44-13 win.
“It was a good day today,” Dumervil said.
Dumervil has had several good days this season. He’s already tripled his sack total from a year ago, flourishing in his transition into Mike Nolan‘s 3-4 defense.
And while Dumervil would need to put on quite a show to challenge Michael Strahan‘s NFL-record 22½ sacks (Dumervil has registered five sacks in his past six games; he needs 7½ in four games to match Strahan’s mark), he can still set his sights on another NFL mark: third down sacks.
Dumervil’s takedown of Cassel was his 10th sack on third down this season, placing him second all-time in NFL history behind the 11 set by former 49ers LB Tim Harris in 1992.
“That’s the big boys’ down,” Dumervil said. [Denver Post] “When I first came in, guys like Al Wilson and John Lynch used to always say, ‘Money down.’ You get a sack on third down, that’s like a turnover.”
Dumervil’s “turnovers” have led the Broncos to the league’s fifth-best pass defense, an 8-4 record, and a clear picture of the playoffs in sight.
But, just as Dumervil’s sack on Cassel was directly caused by Denver’s blanketing secondary, the league’s leading pass rusher has his teammates to thank.
“The rush helps the secondary, and the secondary helps the rush,” Josh McDaniels said. “That’s what we’ve preached all along. When our rush is giving some pressure, our guys have done a nice job of covering for the most part this year. When they’ve covered well, we’ve allowed our rush to get there. It kind of goes hand in hand.”
Or, in Dumervil’s case, quarterback in sight.