Following the Dallas Cowboys‘ regular season opener, a disappointing 19-3 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday night, fans of America’s Team had very little to cheer for. And the fact the team’s starting quarterback, Dak Prescott, suffered a hand injury that required surgery and will force him to miss an unknown amount of games only made things worse.
But there are still some positives to pull from the wreckage that is the Cowboys’ 2022 season. One of which is the play of second-year linebacker Micah Parsons. The reigning NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year kicked off his journey to becoming the league’s most dominate defensive force by recording 2.0 sacks of legendary Bucs’ passer Tom Brady.
Last season, the Cowboys drafted Parsons with the 12th overall selection in the 2021 NFL Draft out of Penn State. The then 22-year old proceeded to tear through the league, leading many to speculate that he was a possible candidate for NFL Defensive Player of the Year. Parson recorded 13.0 sacks, 84 total tackles, 30 quarterback hits, 20 tackles for loss and three forced fumbles in 16 games as a rookie.
Through his first 17 games as a professional, Parsons has achieved something only four other players in NFL history have accomplished. According to The Athletic’s Jon Machota, the Cowboys defensive superstar is one of only five players to record 15.0 sacks in a 17-game span.
Parsons joins former New York Jets defensive end John Abraham (15.5), current Los Angeles Chargers defensive end Joey Bosa (15.0), former San Francisco 49ers linebacker Aldon Smith (15.0), and former Tennessee Titans defensive end Jevon Kearse (15.0) as the only defenders to ever do so. That’s elite company to be rubbing shoulders with.
It should be noted that the NFL did not start tracking sacks as an official statistic until 1982. So, there’s a very good chance that the above list is actually much bigger but the records simply weren’t officially kept. Although not officially recognized by the NFL, there’s an effort that’s been made to research and track those sack stats by our good friends over at pro-football-reference.com.