Sack man

Class of 2009 enshrinee Bruce Smith may very well want to thank fellow Hall of Famer Deacon Jones. It was Jones who came up with the term “sack” to describe the play where a defensive player drops a quarterback for a loss on a pass play.

Jones didn’t get to have his name attached to the sack in the NFL Record Book since it wasn’t an official league statistic during his career with the Los Angeles Rams, San Diego Chargers, and Washington Redskins from 1961 to 1974. The sack became an official NFL stat in 1982.

Three years later, in 1985, the Buffalo Bills used its first overall draft pick on a player that ultimately ended up sacking a quarterback more than any other player in the history of the NFL.

Buffalo had just suffered through a miserable 2-14 season in 1984 and were looking to fill many holes. The Bills decided it really needed a game-changer on defense to get the franchise moving in the right direction and as such took Virginia Tech’s Bruce Smith with that first pick.

Smith broke Reggie White's all-time sack record with this take-down of Jesse Palmer.
Nineteen years later at the age of 40, Bruce Smith proved that he indeed was a game-changer. On December 7, 2003 as a member of the Washington Redskins in a road game against the New York Giants, Smith made history. In the fourth quarter of the contest, he used his patented inside move to power around New York’s tackle Ian Allen and grabbed quarterback Jesse Palmer by the left ankle. He hauled him down for a 7-yard loss to register his 199th career sack. With that sack, Smith eclipsed the 198 sacks amassed by Hall of Famer Reggie White during his career with the Philadelphia Eagles, Green Bay Packers, and Carolina Panthers.

 

“When he went down, I thought he threw the ball. When I saw him and he had the ball in his hand, I knew it was done,” commented Smith about the record-setting moment.

Smith, who played his final four seasons with Washington after 15 years in Buffalo, immediately jumped to his feet and raised his arm in celebration as his teammates rejoiced. Naturally, the home crowd did not share the moment and booed heartedly at their division rivals.

That is in stark contrast to Week 4 of his rookie season. Smith, a fairly raw rookie, was facing the Minnesota Vikings at Rich Stadium in Orchard Park, New York on September 29, 1985. That game was just one of three that Smith did not start during his first season. Regardless, he brought the Bills fans to their feet for the first of many times to come when in the first quarter, he found his way to Vikings quarterback Tommy Kramer. Smith dropped the veteran passer for a 10-yard loss for his first NFL sack. He added a second sack that day when he again nailed Kramer, this time for a 9-yard loss in the second quarter.

Despite Smith’s heroics, the Bills fell to the Vikings when Hall of Fame coach Bud Grant called a “Statue of Liberty” play late in the game to give Minnesota a 27-20 win. Despite his efforts, this type of frustration for Smith and the Bills continued over the next two seasons. In fact, Smith’s first ten games of his career in which recorded a sack all came during Buffalo losses.

But, Hall of Fame coach Marv Levy arrived on the scene midway through Smith’s second year and the fortunes of the team soon turned. The Bills started to stockpile talent to surround their prized right defensive end.

By 1990, Smith rose to the top of his game. He recorded a career-high 19 sacks during the season to help lead Buffalo to its first ever Super Bowl berth. That year he was named the NFL’s Defensive Player of the Year. He had a sack in 10 different games during the season, nine of which were Bills wins. He capped the regular season with his lone four-sack game of his career as he sacked Indianapolis Colts quarterback Jeff George four times in the first half of the Bills’ 31-7 win in Indianapolis on December 9.

The following year, Smith underwent a knee operation in preseason that limited him to just five regular season games in which he had a mere 1.5 sacks. He returned, albeit not at 100 percent, to play in all three playoff games including Super Bowl XXVI.

In 1992, he returned to form as he racked up 14 sacks and earned his fifth Pro Bowl. He picked up another 14 sacks in 1992 and was again named the NFL’s top defensive player.

Smith played his final season with Buffalo in 1999.He added seven sacks to his career total to finish with franchise record 171 sacks accumulated during 15 seasons with the Bills. His final game in a Buffalo uniform came during the famous “Music City Miracle” wild-card game. Overlooked by the exhilarating and controversial ending to the game was that Smith established the all-time NFL playoff sack record that day. He had 2.5 sacks against the Titans to bring his playoff career sack total to 14.5 sacks.

He signed as free agent with the Washington Redskins in 2000 and continued to be an impact player. Smith had 10 sacks during his first season in Washington to establish a record for most multi-digit sack seasons (13). The nine-time Pro Bowler had 29 sacks during his four seasons in Washington.

Two weeks after breaking White’s record during his final season, Smith added No. 200 during the second quarter of the Redskins game against the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field. The final sack of his illustrious career came on a five-yard drop of Rex Grossman.

Smith’s resume of 200 career sacks came against 76 different quarterbacks. Ken O’Brien of the New York Jets holds the distinction as being the most sacked QB (17.5). Smith had multi-sack games 51 times. Overall, the Bills/Redskins were a combined 95-55 when Smith recorded a sack.

# DATE OPP. QB AMT. QTR YDS RESULT
1 9/29/85 vs. MIN Tommy Kramer 1.0 1 10 L, 20-27
2     Tommy Kramer (2) 1.0 2 9  
3 10/13/85 at NE Tony Eason 1.0 2 13 L, 3-14
3.5 11/3/85 vs. CIN Boomer Esiason 0.5 1 6 L, 17-23
4.5 11/17/85 at CLE Bernie Kosar 1.0 2 4 L, 7-17
5.5 12/8/85 vs. NYJ Ken O'Brien 1.0 1 3 L, 7-27
6.5 12/15/85 at PIT Scott Campbell 1.0 3 3 L, 24-30
7.5 9/7/86 vs. NYJ Ken O'Brien (2) 1.0 3 9 L, 24-28
8.5 9/14/86 at CIN Boomer Esiason (1.5) 1.0 4 12 L, 33-36
9.5 9/28/86 vs. KC Todd Blackledge 1.0 2 9 L, 17-20
10.5 10/5/86 at NYJ Ken O'Brien (3) 1.0 2 12 L, 13-14
11.5     Ken O'Brien (4) 1.0 2 4  
12.5 10/19/86 vs. IND Jack Trudeau 1.0 3 8 W, 24-13
13.5 10/26/86 vs. NE Tony Eason (2) 1.0 4 11 L, 3-23
14.5     Tony Eason (3) 1.0 4 11  
15 11/2/86 at TB Steve Young 0.5 3 3.5 L, 28-34
15.5 11/16/86 vs. MIA Dan Marino 0.5 3 1.5 L, 24-34
16.5     Dan Marino (1.5) 1.0 3 12  
17.5 11/23/86 at NE Tony Eason (4) 1.0 2 12 L, 19-22
18.5 11/30/86 at KC Bill Kenney 1.0 3 3 W, 17-14
19.5 12/7/86 vs. CLE Bernie Kosar (2) 1.0 2 0 L, 17-21
20.5 12/14/86 at IND Gary Hogeboom 1.0 3 5 L, 14-24
21.5 12/21/86 at HOU Warren Moon 1.0 3 10 L, 7-16
22 9/13/87 vs. NYJ Ken O'Brien (4.5) 0.5 1 2 L, 28-31
23     Ken O'Brien (5.5) 1.0 4 3  
24 9/20/87 vs. HOU Warren Moon (2) 1.0 1 12 W, 34-30
25 10/25/87 at MIA Dan Marino (2.5) 1.0 3 7 W, 34-31
26 11/8/87 vs. DEN John Elway 1.0 4 7 W, 21-14
27 11/15/87 at CLE Bernie Kosar (3) 1.0 2 0 L, 21-27
28     Bernie Kosar (4) 1.0 4 9  
29 11/22/87 at NYJ Ken O'Brien (6.5) 1.0 1 8 W, 17-14
29.5     Ken O'Brien (7) 0.5 3 3  
30.5 12/13/87 at IND Jack Trudeau (2) 1.0 2 12 W, 27-3
31.5     Jack Trudeau (3) 1.0 2 9  
32.5     Sean Salisbury 1.0 4 10  
33.5 12/27/87 at PHI Randall Cunningham 1.0 2 9 L, 7-17
34.5 10/9/88 vs. IND Gary Hogeboom (2) 1.0 4 11 W, 34-23
35.5 10/17/88 at NYJ Ken O'Brien (8) 1.0 1 7 W, 37-14
36.5     Ken O'Brien (9) 1.0 1 3  
37     Ken O'Brien (9.5) 0.5 1 5.5  
38 10/23/88 vs. NE Doug Flutie 1.0 4 4 W, 23-20
38.5 10/30/88 vs. GB Don Majkowski 0.5 2 3.5 W, 28-0
39.5 11/6/88 at SEA Kelly Stouffer 1.0 1 9 W, 13-3
40.5     Kelly Stouffer (2) 1.0 2 9  
41.5 11/27/88 at CIN Boomer Esiason (2.5) 1.0 3 8 L, 21-35
42.5 12/4/88 at TB Vinny Testaverde 1.0 3 5 L, 5-10
43.5 12/11/88 vs. RAI Jay Schroeder 1.0 2 7 W, 37-21
44.5 12/18/88 at IND Chris Chandler 1.0 3 9 L, 14-17
45 9/18/89 vs. DEN John Elway (1.5) 0.5 2 6.5 L, 14-28
46 9/24/89 at HOU Warren Moon (3) 1.0 3 9 W, 47-41
47 10/1/89 vs. NE Doug Flutie (2) 1.0 2 15 W, 31-10
48 10/16/89 vs. RAM Jim Everett 1.0 1 7 W, 23-20
49     Jim Everett (2) 1.0 3 5  
50 10/22/89 vs. NYJ Ken O'Brien (10.5) 1.0 2 8 W, 34-3
51     Ken O'Brien (11.5) 1.0 3 4  
52     Ken O'Brien (12.5) 1.0 3 9  
52.5 11/12/89 vs. IND Tom Ramsey 0.5 2 4 W, 30-7
53     Tom Ramsey (1) 0.5 4 2.5  
54 12/10/89 vs. NO John Fourcade (1) 1.0 2 8 L, 19-22
55     John Fourcade (2)        
55.5 12/17/89 at SF Steve Young (1) 0.5 2 4 L, 10-21
56.5 12/23/89 at NYJ Tony Eason (5) 1.0 1 7 W, 37-0
57.5     Tony Eason (6) 1.0 1 8  
58.5 9/9/90 vs. IND Jeff George 1.0 2 9 W, 26-10
59.5 9/24/90 at NYJ Ken O'Brien (13.5) 1.0 3 9 W, 30-7
60.5     Ken O'Brien (14.5) 1.0 4 9  
61.5 9/30/90 vs. DEN John Elway (2.5) 1.0 3 9 W, 29-28
62.5     John Elway (3.5) 1.0 4 10  
63.5 10/21/90 vs. NYJ Ken O'Brien (15.5) 1.0 2 9 W, 30-27
64.5     Ken O'Brien (16.5) 1.0 4 4  
65.5 10/28/90 at NE Steve Grogan 1.0 3 8 W, 27-10
66.5 11/11/90 vs. PHX Timm Rosenbach 1.0 2 6 W, 45-14
67.5     Timm Rosenbach (2) 1.0 4 9  
68.5 11/18/90 vs. NE Marc Wilson 1.0 2 6 W, 14-0
69.5 11/26/90 at HOU Warren Moon (4) 1.0 2 5 L, 24-27
70.5     Warren Moon (5) 1.0 3 6  
71.5 12/2/90 vs. PHI Randall Cunningham (2) 1.0 1 7 W, 30-23
72.5     Randall Cunningham (3) 1.0 2 8  
73.5 12/9/90 at IND Jeff George (2) 1.0 1 6 W, 31-7
74.5     Jeff George (3) 1.0 1 13  
75.5     Jeff George (4) 1.0 2 7  
76.5     Jeff George (5) 1.0 2 7  
77.5 12/1/91 vs. NYJ Ken O'Brien (17.5) 1.0 4 9 W, 24-13
78 12/8/91 at RAI Jay Schroeder (1.5) 0.5 OT 1 W, 30-27
79 9/6/92 vs. RAM Jim Everett (3) 1.0 1 8 W, 40-7
80     Jim Everett (4) 1.0 2 6  
81 9/20/92 vs. IND Jack Trudeau (4) 1.0 1 7 W, 38-0
82     Jack Trudeau (5) 1.0 2 6  
83     Jack Trudeau (6) 1.0 2 8  
84 10/11/92 at RAI Todd Marinovich 1.0 3 9 L, 3-20
84.5 10/26/92 at NYJ Browning Nagle 0.5 1 2.5 W, 24-20
85 11/1/92 vs. NE Tommy Hodson 0.5 2 3.5 W, 16-7
86 11/8/92 vs. PIT Neil O'Donnell 1.0 4 12 W, 28-20
87 11/16/92 at MIA Dan Marino (3.5) 1.0 3 9 W, 26-20
88 11/29/92 at IND Jack Trudeau (7) 1.0 3 8 L, 13-16
89 12/6/92 vs. NYJ Browning Nagle (1.5) 1.0 2 16 L, 17-24
90     Browning Nagle (2.5) 1.0 4 3  
91 12/12/92 vs. DEN Shawn Moore 1.0 3 7 W, 27-17
92     Shawn Moore (2) 1.0 3 7  
93 9/5/93 vs. NE Drew Bledsoe 1.0 2 0 W, 38-14
94     Drew Bledsoe (2) 1.0 4 7  
95 9/26/93 vs. MIA Dan Marino (4.5) 1.0 2 7 L, 13-22
96 10/3/93 vs. NYG Phil Simms 1.0 4 4 W, 17-14
97 10/11/93 vs. HOU Warren Moon (6) 1.0 3 4 W, 35-7
98     Cody Carlson 1.0 3 6  
99 10/24/93 at NYJ Boomer Esiason (3.5) 1.0 4 7 W, 19-10
100 11/1/93 vs. WAS Mark Rypien 1.0 4 0 W, 24-10
100.5 11/7/93 at NE Drew Bledsoe (2.5) 0.5 4 4.5 W, 13-10
101.5 11/21/93 vs. IND Jeff George (6) 1.0 4 8 W, 23-9
102.5 12/5/93 vs. RAI Jeff Hostetler 1.0 4 8 L, 24-25
103.5 12/12/93 at PHI Bubby Brister 1.0 2 1 W, 10-7
104.5 12/19/93 at MIA Steve DeBerg 1.0 4 9 W, 47-34
105 1/2/94 at IND Jeff George (6.5) 0.5 1 4 W, 30-10
106     Jeff George (7.5) 1.0 4 9  
106.5 9/11/94 at NE Drew Bledsoe (3) 0.5 4 2.5 W, 38-35
107.5 9/18/94 at HOU Bucky Richardson 1.0 1 3 W, 15-7
108.5     Bucky Richardson (2) 1.0 3 5  
109.5     Bucky Richardson (3) 1.0 3 9  
110.5     Bucky Richardson (4) 1.0 3 10  
111.5 9/26/94 vs. DEN John Elway (4.5) 1.0 2 8 W, 27-20
112 10/2/94 at CHI Steve Walsh 0.5 1 2.5 L, 13-20
113     Steve Walsh (1.5) 1.0 2 5  
114 10/30/94 vs. KC Joe Montana 1.0 2 7 W, 44-10
115     Joe Montana (2) 1.0 3 7  
116 12/4/94 at MIA Dan Marino (5.5) 1.0 2 4 W, 42-31
117 10/2/95 at CLE Vinny Testaverde (2) 1.0 4 6 W, 22-19
118 10/8/95 vs. NYJ Boomer Esiason (4.5) 1.0 1 9 W, 2-10
119     Bubby Brister (2) 1.0 4 8  
120 11/12/95 vs. ATL Jeff George (8.5) 1.0 3 7 W, 23-17
121     Jeff George (9.5) 1.0 4 1  
121.5 11/26/95 vs. NE Drew Bledsoe (3.5) 0.5 3 1.5 L, 25-35
122.5 12/3/95 at SF Steve Young (2) 1.0 2 5 L, 17-27
123.5     Steve Young (3) 1.0 2 5  
124.5     Steve Young (4) 1.0 3 6  
125.5 12/10/95 at STL Mark Rypien (2) 1.0 4 7 W, 45-27
126.5     Mark Rypien (3) 1.0 4 9  
127.5 9/1/96 at NYG Dave Brown 1.0 3 5 W, 23-20
128.5     Dave Brown (2) 1.0 OT 8  
129.5 9/8/96 vs. NE Drew Bledsoe (4.5) 1.0 1 16 W, 17-10
130.5     Drew Bledsoe (5.5) 1.0 3 1  
131.5     Drew Bledsoe (6.5) 1.0 4 7  
132.5 10/6/96 vs. IND Jim Harbaugh 1.0 OT 4 W, 16-13
133.5 10/13/96 vs. MIA Craig Erickson 1.0 4 4 L, 7-21
134.5 11/10/96 at PHI Ty Detmer 1.0 2 8 W, 24-17
135.5     Ty Detmer (2) 1.0 4 12  
136 11/17/96 vs. CIN Jeff Blake 0.5 2 5 W, 31-17
137     Erik Wilhelm 1.0 4 12  
137.5 11/24/96 vs. NYJ Frank Reich 0.5 2 4 W, 35-10
138     Frank Reich (1) 0.5 2 5.5  
139 12/1/96 at IND Paul Justin 1.0 4 7 L, 10-13
140 12/22/96 vs. KC Steve Bono 1.0 3 10 W, 20-9
141 8/31/97 vs. MIN Brad Johnson 1.0 2 7 L, 13-34
142     Brad Johnson (2) 1.0 3 7  
143 9/7/97 at NYJ Neil O'Donnell (2) 1.0 4 6 W, 28-22
143.5     Neil O'Donnell (2.5) 0.5 4 3.5  
144.5 9/21/97 vs. IND Jim Harbaugh (2) 1.0 4 8 W, 37-35
145.5 10/5/97 vs. DET Scott Mitchell 1.0 4 5 W, 22-13
146.5 10/12/97 at NE Drew Bledsoe (7.5) 1.0 2 10 L, 6-33
147.5 10/20/97 at IND Jim Harbaugh (3) 1.0 2 7 W, 9-6
148.5     Jim Harbaugh (4) 1.0 3 3  
149     Jim Harbaugh (4.5) 0.5      
150 10/26/97 vs. DEN John Elway (5.5) 1.0 1 1 L, 20-23
151 11/2/97 vs. MIA Craig Erickson (2) 1.0 4 14 W, 9-6
152 11/17/97 at MIA Dan Marino (6.5) 1.0 1 7 L, 13-30
153     Dan Marino (7.5) 1.0 4 9  
154 11/30/97 vs. NYJ Neil O'Donnell (3.5) 1.0 3 8 W, 20-10
154.5 9/13/98 at MIA Dan Marino (8) 0.5 2 3.5 L, 7-13
155.5 9/20/98 vs. STL Tony Banks (1) 1.0 2 8 L, 33-34
156.5 10/4/98 vs. SF Steve Young (5) 1.0 3 0 W, 26-21
157 10/18/98 vs. JAC Mark Brunell 0.5 1 3 W, 17-16
157.5     Mark Brunell (1) 0.5 1 3  
158 11/1/98 vs. MIA Dan Marino (8.5) 0.5 2 5.5 W, 30-24
159 11/8/98 at NYJ Vinny Testaverde (3) 1.0 4 8 L, 12-34
160 11/15/98 vs. NE Drew Bledsoe (8.5) 1.0 4 8 W, 13-10
161     Drew Bledsoe (9.5) 1.0 4 7  
162 11/29/98 at NE Drew Bledsoe (10.5) 1.0 3 7 L, 21-25
163 12/13/98 vs. OAK Wade Wilson 1.0 3 16 W, 44-21
164 12/27/98 at NO Kerry Collins 1.0 1 6 W, 45-33
165 9/26/99 vs. PHI Doug Pederson 1.0 2 13 W, 26-0
166 10/4/99 at MIA Dan Marino (9.5) 1.0 3 11 W, 23-18
167 11/14/99 vs. MIA Damon Huard 1.0 2 10 W, 23-3
168     Damon Huard (2) 1.0 3 3  
169 11/21/99 at NYJ Ray Lucas 1.0 2 10 L, 7-17
170 12/26/99 at NE Drew Bledsoe (11.5) 1.0 2 7 W, 13-10
171     Drew Bledsoe (12.5) 1.0 3 5  
172 9/3/00 vs. CAR Steve Beuerlein 1.0 2 8 W, 20-17
172.5     Steve Beuerlein (1.5) 0.5 3 21  
173 9/18/00 vs. DAL Randall Cunningham (4) 0.5 2 6 L, 21-27
174 9/24/00 at NYG Kerry Collins (2) 1.0 1 8 W, 16-6
175 10/8/00 at PHI Donovan McNabb 1.0 2 1 W, 17-14
176 10/22/00 at JAC Mark Brunell (2) 1.0 1 5 W, 35-16
177 11/20/00 at STL Trent Green 1.0 1 0 W, 33-20
178     Trent Green (2) 1.0 2 9  
179     Trent Green (3) 1.0 4 1  
180 11/26/00 vs. PHI Donovan McNabb (2) 1.0 4 8 L, 20-23
181 12/24/00 vs. ARI Jake Plummer 1.0 4 3 W, 20-3
181.5 9/30/01 vs. KC Trent Green (3.5) 0.5 1 1 L, 13-45
182.5 10/28/01 vs. NYG Kerry Collins (3) 1.0 3 5 W, 35-21
183.5 11/4/01 vs. SEA Matt Hasselbeck 1.0 2 8 W, 27-14
184     Trent Dilfer 0.5 2 8  
185 12/2/01 vs. DAL Quincy Carter 1.0 3 7 L, 14-20
186 12/30/01 at NO Aaron Brooks 1.0 4 2 W, 40-10
187 10/6/02 at TEN Steve McNair 1.0 4 6 W, 31-14
188 11/3/02 at SEA Matt Hasselbeck (2) 1.0 2 9 W, 14-3
189     Matt Hasselbeck (3) 1.0 3 7  
190 11/28/02 at DAL Chad Hutchinson 1.0 1 8 L, 20-27
191     Chad Hutchinson (2) 1.0 2 7  
192 12/8/02 vs. NYG Kerry Collins (4) 1.0 3 7 L, 21-27
193 12/22/02 vs. HOU David Carr 1.0 4 8 W, 26-10
194     David Carr (2) 1.0 4 2  
195 12/29/02 vs. DAL Chad Hutchinson (3) 1.0 3 10 W, 20-14
195.5 9/4/03 vs. NYJ Vinny Testaverde (4) 0.5 4 4 W, 16-13
196.5 10/5/03 at PHI Donovan McNabb (3) 1.0 2 5 L, 25-27
197.5 11/9/03 vs. SEA Matt Hasselbeck (4) 1.0 4 7 W, 27-20
198 11/23/03 at MIA Brian Griese 0.5 1 9 L, 23-24
199 12/7/03 at NYG Jesse Palmer 1.0 4 7 W, 20-7
200 12/21/03 at CHI Rex Grossman 1.0 2 5 L, 24-27


Source:
Elias Sports Bureau, Pro Football Hall of Fame
 

Smith’s sacks by QB>>>
 

 


 


Grant, Bud, Levy, Marv, Smith, Bruce, White, Reggie, Buffalo Bills Carolina Panthers Chicago Bears Green Bay Packers Indianapolis Colts Minnesota Vikings New York Giants New York Jets Philadelphia Eagles San Diego Chargers Tennessee Titans Washington Redskins
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