Originally posted on Football Nation  |  Last updated 9/18/12

Despite the fact that Green Bay went 15-1 last season, star LB Clay Matthews had a relatively quiet year statistically.

He has certainly turned that around to start 2012.  Two games into this season, Matthews has already recorded as many sacks (6) as he had the entire 2011 season.  Matthews clearly has a shot at the single-season record of 22.5 if he continues to get to the QB at anything close to this rate.

Matthews pulled down San Francisco QB Alex Smith 2.5 times in a Week 1 loss, and did even better last Thursday, with a single-game career high of 3.5 sacks, against Chicago’s Jay Cutler.

This is not the first time that the former USC star has started fast out of the gate; Matthews had exactly 6 sacks after two games to start the 2010 season as well.  In what would wind up being a Super Bowl season for the Packers, Matthews started the season by sacking Michael Vick of Philadelphia and Trent Edwards of Buffalo 3 times each in the first two weeks.  However, in the final 14 games of the 2010 season, Matthews had just 7.5 more sacks, never recording more than 1.5 sacks in a single game the rest of the way.

With 35.5 career sacks, Matthews is tied for 42nd on the active-player NFL sack list, currently 6 behind future first-ballot Hall-of-Famer Ray Lewis (who has 1 so far in 2012).

Michael Strahan of the New York Giants holds the single-season NFL record, of 22.5 sacks, set in 2001.  Strahan broke Mark Gastineau’s long-held mark of 22.

Sticking with the Sacks theme, the only active player in the top 15 all-time is 33-year old John Abraham; with 113 sacks he’s tied with Sean Jones for 15th place.  Abraham, who is in his seventh season with Atlanta, is 8.5 sacks behind Clyde Simmons for 14th place.  Abraham’s sack of Kansas City’s Matt Cassel in Week 1 put him in a tie with Jones.

 

STAT STUFFERS

  • Pittsburgh D has work to do

Last season, the Pittsburgh Steelers run defense wasn’t stopping much of anyone in the early part of the season.  Not surprisingly, though, Dick LeBeau & Co. got things turned around, and by season’s end, the Steelers finished a respectable 8th in the league (allowing an average of 99.8 YPG).

Although decent, the Steelers’ final numbers against the run in 2011 paled in comparison to their historically great dominance in 2010; in their Super Bowl season, Pittsburgh allowed 437 fewer rushing yards than the next best team.

Through two games this season, the Steelers have allowed an average of 92 rushing YPG, 11th-best in the league.  Pittsburgh has been out-rushed in both of its games.

The team’s pass defense, which led the NFL a year ago by allowing just 171.9 YPG, is sitting in 5th place at 184.5 – and the Steelers secondary has yet to intercept a pass (against Peyton Manning and Mark Sanchez).  The Houston defense is leading the league by allowing just 124 passing YPG so far.

Stat of the Week:  The Steelers have not allowed 300 passing yards in a regular-season game since Tom Brady gouged them for 350 in November 2010 (a span of 25 games).

*Of course, Tim Tebow threw for 316 yards against Pittsburgh in Denver’s shocking playoff win last season.

  • Brees getting closer

With TD passes in each of the first two games, New Orleans QB Drew Brees has now thrown a TD pass in 45 consecutive games.  Brees trails record-holder Johnny Unitas by 2 games.  The Saints face Kansas City and Green Bay the next two weeks.  The Chiefs have already yielded 5 TD passes in the early going, while the Packers have given up 3.

Brees didn’t waste any time on Sunday, tossing a scoring pass in the first quarter (although he did not throw another one the rest of the game).

  • Losing ground

One factor in New England’s surprisingly low-scoring loss at home against Arizona was the number of negative offensive plays for the Patriots.

    • Tom Brady was sacked 4 times
    • Brady also threw 1 INT
    • New England ball-carriers were tackled for a loss 5 times

 Add in the fact that New England ball-carriers were tackled for a loss 5 times in Week 1, and it’s obvious the offensive line is not playing as well as it could, NE backs are not making enough guys miss, and maybe even the play calling is suspect.

It won’t get any easier in Week 3, as the Patriots square off against Ray Lewis and the Baltimore Ravens.

  • Sudden swings

Seven teams increased their yardage output by more than 100 yards between Week 1 and Week 2, led by the New York Giants’ 335-yard improvement.

New York Giants:  269 / 604 = +335 offensive yards

Cleveland:              210 / 439 = +229

St. Louis:                251 / 451 = +200

Miami:                    275 / 452 = +177

Carolina:                 301 / 463 = +162

Conversely, no team had a sharper drop-off between Weeks 1 & 2 in offensive production than the Chicago Bears:

           Chicago:           428 / 168 = -260

           Jacksonville:     355 / 117 = -238

           New York Jets: 384 / 219 = -165



GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Reggie Bush reportedly closing in on contract with Bills

Report: Eric Berry planning to no-show training camp

Eagles could have interest in Gordon if Browns trade him

Report: Fitzpatrick, Jets not likely to have deal before camp

Report: Anquan Boldin signs one-year deal with Detroit Lions

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Formula One CEO's mother-in-law kidnapped in Brazil

Gregory going to treatment after another drug violation

Mike McCarthy ends weight talk, declares Eddie Lacy ‘ready’

Report: Redskins have discussed possibly signing Hardy

Kimbo Slice’s son set to make MMA debut

Did Bell miss drug tests due to changed phone number?

Bashaud Breeland brought puppies to Redskins camp

A look at the trade market for center fielders

Tyler Johnson 'threw up a couple of times' over $50M deal

Should the Yankees hold a fire sale?

Five young soccer players to keep an eye on at Rio Olympics

Conor McGregor's coach predicts result of Nate Diaz rematch

Jordy Nelson starts camp on PUP list, no reason for panic?

Mark Dantonio denies MSU negatively recruits against PSU

Brett Favre selects wife Deanna as his Hall of Fame presenter

Durant shopped for OKC home week before joining Warriors?

Jarron, Jason Collins speak in support of LGBTQ rights at DNC

Von Miller has some wild thoughts about human evolution

NFL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

QUIZ: Name every Olympic event in which the USA has never won a gold medal

Five U.S. Olympians favored to win multiple gold medals

WATCH: What teams should join the Big 12?

One Gotta Go: Do NBA players really love NBA2K?

One Gotta Go: NBA players hate Facebook too

One Gotta Go: NBA players settle the fast food beef

One Gotta Go: NBA players make tough choices on their favorite rappers

One Gotta Go: NBA Summer League is not about that Game of Thrones life

The top NHL free agents available as offseason winds down

WATCH: NBA jersey sponsors that need to happen

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker