Back in 2003, the Indianapolis Colts selected an undersized defensive end out of Alabama A&M in the fifth round named Robert Mathis. The undersized Mathis had a lot to prove when he entered his first season. Flash forward 10 years later, and you have the greatest sack artist in franchise history.
Mathis broke the franchise record for sacks on Sunday with a sack late in the third quarter on Case Keenum. It was the 108th of his career, breaking the previous mark set by Dwight Freeney.
The record-breaking play was a classic move we have come to see from Mathis — a strip sack fumble. Mathis owns the NFL record with 42, breaking the record of 40 previously held by Jason Taylor earlier in the season. The sack also gave him a league-leading 16.5 on the season, another franchise record.
The last record he now owns is that he has now sacked 54 different quarterbacks during his career, also most in the Colts franchise history. From taking down the likes of Brett Favre and Tom Brady to Brodie Croyle and J.P. Lossman, Mathis has shown why he defined the new art of the strip sack in the NFL.
While playing most of his career in the shadow of Freeney, who set the franchise record back in 2004 with 16, Mathis is finally under the full spotlight this year as Freeney headed for San Diego. While he may no longer play his traditional defensive end role in the Colts’ new 3-4 scheme, the 32-year-old has shown why he has become the greatest sack artist in franchise history.