For the past three seasons, we’ve all become aware that Green Bay Packers outside linebacker Clay Matthews is an elite pass rusher. In 2012, though, Mathews could elevate himself to the level of legends.
With six sacks through two games, Mathews is on pace to crush the current NFL single-season sack record of 22.5, held by former New York Giants defensive end Michael Strahan. But can he keep that pace?
Since entering the league in 2009 as a first-round pick (No. 27 overall), Matthews has gotten off to quick starts. In 2010 – easily his best season – Matthews managed six sacks in his first two games of the season before managing only 7.5 through the last 14 games. Matthews notched five sacks through the first half of the 2011 season before finding only one in the final seven weeks.
Considering that Matthews has already matched his 2011 sack total through two games in 2012, though, it’s not hard to imagine the Packers’ sack specialist making a run at the sack title this season.
The former 2010 NFC Defensive Player of the Year and three-time Pro Bowler has the perfect set up for success this season. With fellow pass rusher Nick Perry on the opposite side of the defense and a schedule laden with poor pass-blocking teams, the stars are aligning for Matthews to make the same push that Jared Allen did with the Minnesota Vikings in 2011.
Matthews is the only player in NFL history to notch six sacks in a season’s first two games twice. If he continues to dominate this way, he could rack up a Madden-esque amount of sacks in 2012.