Looking back at Michael Strahan's single-season sack record
Exactly 20 years ago, Hall of Fame defensive end and Giants legend Michael Strahan set a new NFL record for sacks in a single season with 22.5. But will it last another year?
Strahan broke the previous record of 22.0 sacks set by New York Jets defensive end Mark Gastineau in 1984. In the 20 years since, Minnesota Vikings defensive end Jared Allen (2011) and Kansas City Chiefs outside linebacker Justin Houston (2014) matched Gastineau's mark, coming a half-sack short of Strahan's record.
Heading into Week 18 of the 2021 season, Pittsburgh Steelers outside linebacker T.J. Watt sits one sack shy of Strahan's record with a matchup against the Baltimore Ravens still to come.
With Watt so close to breaking the single-season record, let's take a look back at Strahan's historic 2001 season.
Strahan did not pick up a single sack in the first two weeks of the season, both of which were road games. Then in the home opener against the New Orleans Saints in Week 3, Strahan exploded for three sacks and two forced fumbles. From that point on, Strahan never looked back.
In the final 14 games of the season, the Hall of Famer registered at least 0.5 sacks in all but one game, including six games of 1.5 sacks or more from Weeks 3 through 8. In that six-game span, Strahan recorded an incredible 14 sacks to go with 12 tackles for loss and four forced fumbles.
Strahan sat at 18.0 sacks heading into a Week 16 road contest against the Philadelphia Eagles. It was in this divisional matchup that the defensive end broke out for 3.5 sacks, bringing him just 0.5 sacks away from Gastineau's record.
In the final game of the season, the Giants welcomed Brett Favre and the Green Bay Packers to Giants Stadium. Strahan went the first 57 minutes of the game without picking up a sack before Green Bay got the ball back with just under three minutes remaining. On the first play of the drive, Strahan sacked Favre for a seven-yard loss, giving the Giants legend the all-time sack record.
Strahan racked up numerous accolades for his performance in 2001, none more impressive than being named NFL Defensive Player of the Year. In addition to leading the league in sacks, Strahan was also the co-leader in forced fumbles with six. He also earned his third selection as a First-Team All-Pro and his fourth trip to the Pro Bowl.
Notebook: Jake Fromm excited for another chance
Redemption is not a word Jake Fromm chooses to use regarding his start at quarterback in the Giants' season finale Sunday against the Washington Football Team.
Two weeks ago, Fromm made his NFL starting debut when the Giants visited the Philadelphia Eagles. But he threw for only 25 yards while completing six of 17 passes and was replaced by Mike Glennon in the third quarter of the Giants' 34-10 defeat. The Giants scored only three points when Fromm ran the offense.
Glennon played the entire game three days ago in Chicago but suffered a wrist injury that requires surgery and will not be in uniform vs. Washington. Fromm gets another chance to lead the Giants to victory and to demonstrate that he is a better quarterback than his first start would suggest.
So, he was asked yesterday if this is a chance to enjoy some personal redemption?
"For me, any opportunity to play in the NFL is a great opportunity," was Fromm's response. "Obviously, I'm looking forward to having a good week of practice and going out and playing to the best of my abilities and how I think I can."
What did he learn from his unpleasant afternoon in Lincoln Financial Field?
"For me, it's how important putting together a good week of practice is, coming out to the game and executing early, getting a rhythm and scoring a few points," Fromm said. "That's going to be the focus for me this week, have a good week of practice and getting off to a fast start.
"You can't change the past, so you just learn from it. You move on and try to do better next time."
PFWA gives 'Good Guy Award' to Leonard Williams
Since 2001, the Giants’ chapter of the Professional Football Writers of America has annually presented the George Young Good Guy Award to a player for his consistent and outstanding cooperation with the writers who cover the team daily.
Young, who was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2020, was the Giants' general manager from 1979-97. This year, the writers added the name of his successor, Ernie Accorsi, to the award, which was given to defensive lineman Leonard Williams.
The writers' announcement said Williams received the 21st annual award for "for his professionalism and availability during the 2021 season," and Accorsi for, "for a career overflowing with such contributions."
The award is now known as the George Young-Ernie Accorsi Good Guy Award.
Williams was recognized for his honest, insightful and candid answers to the many questions he faced during a challenging season. Whether discussing fan reactions, his own health issues, or any of the other matters that made 2021 a turbulent year for the Giants, Williams was readily available to provide the perspective of a respected NFL veteran.
"I found out about it today, but I was just surprised that out of everybody that I won the award, because sometimes when I'm being brought in, I give (director of football communications) Dion (Dargin) and some of the staff a hard time about talking to the media," Williams said.