Just thought I'd throw out my thoughts regarding this.
The NFL records for most interceptions and sacks by a team in one season are 49 for interceptions, and 73 for sacks respectively.
The San Diego Chargers had 49 interceptions for AFC in 1961 during a 14 game season. They averaged 3.5 per game, which in a 16 game season would be 56 interceptions. That record has remained unchanged for over 50 years.
The Oakland Raiders accumulated 73 sacks for the AFC in 1967 during the same 14 game season. That averages out to 5.2 per game which translates into 83.2 during a 16 game season. An amazing record of sacks, to say the least, which has existed for over 45 years.
These records obviously appear to be unreachable in today’s modern game where the Quarterbacks, Receivers and Backs work in an ever more complicated offense, in tandem, to exploit the weakness which exists in any defense.
Let’s just review the past five years of sacks, the best and then the Bills in the league:
2010 - Pittsburg Steelers - 48 Buffalo Bills - 27
2009 - Minnesota Vikings - 48 Buffalo Bills - 32
2008 - Dallas Cowboys - 59 Buffalo Bills - 24
2007 - New York Giants - 53 Buffalo Bills – 26
Our beloved Bills team hasn’t even come close to the league leaders, in the last two years, we’ve had less than half the number than the leaders.
Now, on to the interceptions from the past 5 years, again with the leaders and the Bills:
2011 - Green Bay Packers - 31 Buffalo Bills - 20
2010 - New England Patriots - 25 Buffalo Bills - 11
2009 - Green Bay Packers - 30 Buffalo Bills - 28
2008 - Baltimore Ravens - 26 Buffalo Bills - 10
2007 - San Diego Chargers - 30 Buffalo Bills - 18
Once again, in two of those seasons, we didn’t even accumulate half of the picks as the league leaders.
So, as mentioned, these records appear to be safe in the record books for virtually forever. No modern team has even got close to challenging them.
Now on to the reason I think one of these records might come close to be challenged this year because of the team crafted by Buddy Nix, coached by Chan Gailey, Dave Wannstedt and the other coaches assembled by Chan and company. And obviously financed by Ralph Wilson, with his blessings. He’s not getting any younger and he wants to go to his maker hoisting a Super Bowl trophy before his demise. Or maybe, more accurately, have someone hoist it him next to him before that.
Now here’s where the delusional, optimistic and ridiculous comments come out. Here’s my reasoning, laugh if you must, spew coffee, soda or beer from your nostrils, whatever…
First off, I think this defense is special, even with all the talent assembled in the NFL on other teams. The front four and our secondary, at least in my myopic view seem to be strong.
The secondary has a cast of characters which can play well against the run, especially with the weaknesses over the last few years in the front seven. They have all shown the nose for the ball and have a reasonable number of picks. Now somehow, with the defensive line they’ve assembled you should automatically guess that opposing QB’s and Offensive lines are going to feel more pressures. To me, that equates to more errant passes leading to interceptions, and at the same time, more sacks. Especially if our defensive backfield covers the receivers for even a half second more.
This game has proven to be a game of inches and tenths of a second. If both perform to expectations, turnovers should become a normal facet of the Bills game. I believe the linebackers are also strong, but I’m sure I’m in the minority. Time will tell.
With a stout defense and the turnovers I anticipate, the offense will have more opportunities to put points on the board.
Should we actually be ahead in the game in the second half on a regular basis, I can’t even imagine the terror our defense can wreak on the opposing offense.
Guess what we might do in the second half to wind down the clock? Run, run and play action, the defenses we play against won’t have a clue what’s coming next.
Let’s keep in mind, the reason Fitzpatrick threw so many interceptions last year was because he was always playing from behind, virtually more than half the games, how do think other offenses will perform??
I see interceptions and sacks as the norm in the second half of our games. We will run away with some games this year.
Granted, all teams have similar talent and every year any team can surprise. They all get paid bunches of money to perform, somehow, I believe this year is the Bills year to surprise.
Now, back to my original premise, the Bills would need 5.2 sacks a game to break the record. They would need 3.5 interceptions a game to do the same.
Totally unrealistic, I agree, but wait…
So, in conclusion, we have done it before. With nowhere near the same talent on the defensive line, creating pressure every down. It doesn’t matter if it’s a run or a pass, I’m confident we are going to make some noise.
As usual, call me delusional, but I’m looking forward to comments after the pre-season to see who agrees.
Since our defensive secondary seems to be picking off passes left and right and our defensive line seems to be disrupting to our offense, to say the least, I can’t wait to crush the Jets and set a tone for the whole season.
I haven’t even commented on how good I think the offense might be. That’s another post entirely.