After one other slate crammed with sacks, stops and stuffs, let’s evaluate the standout performers from the trenches throughout Week 15:
Defensive Lineman of the Week: DL Chris Jones, Chiefs
Even in a dropping effort, Chris Jones was in all probability one of the best participant on the sphere on Thursday, ending with three tackles, 2.5 sacks, one move deflection, and eight (!!!) quarterback hits in opposition to the Los Angeles Chargers. Within the course of, he tied the all-time document for essentially the most consecutive video games with a minimum of one sack (10).
At 6-foot-6 and 310 kilos, Jones would possibly look like one other gargantuan defensive sort out who eats up area and dominates in opposition to the run – however that could not be farther from the reality. In actuality, Jones possesses an electrical get-off, unbelievable quickness, and a big selection of footwork and hand strategies, making him a nightmare for slower-footed offensive guards to dam on passing performs. Jones’ second sack in opposition to the Chargers is a good instance of his skill to generate stress utilizing quickness:
Right here, Jones is aligned over the skin shoulder of the best guard, and is seeking to run an change stunt with Justin Houston (No. 50) to his left. The thought is that Jones will instantly penetrate the road and decide off the best sort out so Houston can get free to loop behind him inside. Nonetheless, as a result of the best sort out rapidly engages Houston, Jones cannot decide him off and as an alternative turns into a standard pass-rusher in a matchup with the guard.
From there, Jones makes use of a wonderfully timed one-hand swipe to stymie the best guard’s punch and clear contact, giving him area to dip and rip on the apex of Philip Rivers‘ drop earlier than flattening towards him for the sack.
It is fairly spectacular that though Jones is supposed to arrange his teammate, he is capable of regulate within the blink of a watch, beat his personal blocker, and produce down Rivers. There are lower than a handful of defensive tackles with the attention, quickness, flexibility, and hand timing to make that play.
And Jones wasn’t performed, saving his finest for final:
Right here, Jones is once more aligned over the skin shoulder of the best guard. As soon as the ball is snapped, he instantly takes a jab step towards the guard’s inside edge. That leads the guard to lean inside whereas widening his base, which makes it harder to recuperate.
Subsequent, Jones redirects again to the guard’s outdoors edge and makes use of a forklift transfer along with his arm to clear contact. The guard truly does a very good job of re-establishing his arms (though his base is everywhere), however Jones retains his personal arms combat-ready. He effortlessly sequences right into a stab along with his inside arm whereas executing one other forklift transfer along with his outdoors hand to clear contact a second time.
From there, Jones drops his pad stage and turns a good nook to Rivers, whom he ultimately helps deliver down after crawling round within the pocket.
Total, Jones’ efficiency was merely probably the greatest by any inside lineman within the league this season, as Los Angeles could not sluggish him down. It is time to acknowledge him as one of many premier gamers at his place.
Move Rush of the Week: DE Khalil Mack, Bears
Khalil Mack continued his dominant first season with the Chicago Bears by racking up 2.5 sacks, three quarterback hits, and 6 tackles – two for a loss – in opposition to the Inexperienced Bay Packers on Sunday.
Although he had quite a few excellent performs in opposition to Inexperienced Bay, this sack from the second quarter is essentially the most spectacular:
Right here, Mack aligns in a two-point stance outdoors of Inexperienced Bay’s left sort out earlier than firing out of his stance and starting with a slight inside jab step. Mack then expands his rush again outdoors, executing a fast stab along with his outdoors hand as he locations his inside hand on the best sort out’s inside forearm.
As soon as his arms are in place, Mack forklifts the sort out’s arm, which clears the purpose of contact and knocks him off-balance. And regardless of an egregious maintain from the sort out, Mack’s capable of hit Aaron Rodgers along with his again, which contributes to bringing him down for the sack.
Your entire sequence encapsulates Mack as a participant – he regularly accomplishes uncommon feats on the again of excellent timing, method, and energy.
Run Defender of the Week: DT Grady Jarrett, Falcons
Misplaced within the Atlanta Falcons‘ disappointing season has been the excellent play of defensive sort out Grady Jarrett, who deserves to be ranked within the non-Aaron Donald tier of elite defensive tackles. And Jarrett was at his finest in opposition to the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday, ending with seven tackles – two for a loss – two quarterback hits, two sacks, and a pressured fumble. He actually would have been our “Defensive Lineman of the Week” if not for Jones’ unbelievable efficiency damaged down above.
As an alternative, we’ll spotlight Jarrett’s efficiency within the operating sport, because the Falcons held the Cardinals to simply 60 speeding yards on 22 carries (2.73 yards per try). This play – during which Jarrett fully blows up an tried draw on a delayed handoff – is a good instance of his efforts:
Right here, he is aligned with an outdoor shade over Arizona’s proper guard, who pretends to start out move blocking after the snap in an try to get Jarrett to hurry upfield previous the ball-carrier. Nonetheless, Jarrett does not take the bait, as he knocks the guard off his spot with a strong two-hand punch earlier than getting within the operating again’s path for the cease.
Jarrett’s usually acknowledged for his quickness and hand strategies, however he not often receives sufficient credit score for the sheer quantity of energy he generates on the level of assault. That is precisely what we see right here, as Jarrett knocks his man backward and takes down the operating again behind the road of scrimmage.
Within the Highlight: DL Henry Anderson, Jets
Henry Anderson‘s been one of many New York Jets‘ higher run defenders all season, so it was no shock that he made a number of performs close to the road of scrimmage in opposition to the Houston Texans.
The extra stunning manufacturing got here in opposition to the move, as Anderson entered Saturday’s sport with simply three sacks this season and proceeded to double that complete in opposition to the Texans. At instances, Anderson benefited from Houston quarterback Deshaun Watson holding the ball too lengthy – however actually not on this play:
Right here, Anderson’s aligned straight over the middle. As soon as the ball is snapped, he slants to his proper and engages the left guard whereas attaining superior hand placement. That hand placement permits Anderson to maneuver the guard off his spot and stroll him into the backfield.
The guard then makes an attempt to re-anchor, however Anderson does effectively to work inside with an exaggerated arm-over transfer that clears contact earlier than bringing down Watson.
Anderson’s size and power – which permit him to be efficient in opposition to the run each week – had been on full show throughout that sack. And whereas he is by no means going to be a star and infrequently does not present up a lot on the stat sheet, the 27-year-old’s able to being a useful position participant with the odd big-time efficiency. On this case, it was nearly sufficient to assist the Jets upset the closely favored Texans.
John Proudly owning is a soccer author at theScore. He has written for Bleacher Report and Soccer Insiders. He was additionally the lead NFL content material editor at FanRag Sports activities. John gives evaluation on the Dallas Cowboys for the Dallas Morning Information and edits for The Quant Edge. Discover him on Twitter @JohnOwning.