How DeMarcus Lawrence Compares to Top Cowboys’ and NFL Pass Rushers

by | Jul 11, 2018 | Articles, The League, The Team

Between now and the start of 2018 Training Camp, 5 Points Blue will look at current Cowboys’ stars and see how their production ranks statistically among the greatest players in franchise history. The series continues with defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence.

DeMarcus Lawrence’s 14 ½ sacks in 2017, along with his solid play against the run, resulted in his first career selection to the Pro Bowl. It was also one of the most prolific single-seasons in regards to sacks in Cowboys’ history. Lawrence is now entering his 5th season, so let’s see how he’s doing in regards to making his mark in the team record book. We’ll also compare his production to other top NFL pass rushers.

Greg Trott via AP

MOST SACKS IN A SINGLE SEASON: 14 ½ (4th most in team history since 1982 when sacks became an official statistic; tied for 10thmost overall unofficially)

Harvey Martin would top this list if sacks were an official NFL statistic prior to 1982. However, Martin played from 1973-83. Thus, the league only recognizes the final 10 sacks of his career from 1982-83. But the Cowboys’ unofficially credit Martin with 23 sacks in 1977, the year he was named NFL Defensive Player of the Year.

The following list is compiled from stats/records in the Cowboys’ media guide and includes seasons prior to 1982.

Cowboys’ Top 10 “Most Sacks in a Single Season”(Cowboys’ unofficial stats, including seasons before 1982)

1 Harvey Martin 23 (1977)

2 DeMarcus Ware 20 (2008)

3 DeMarcus Ware 19 ½ (2011)

4 George Andrie 18 ½ (1966)

5 Randy White 16 (1978)

6 (tie) DeMarcus Ware 15 ½ (2010)

6 (tie) Jethro Pugh 15 ½ (1968)

8 (tie) Harvey Martin 14 ½ (1976)

8 (tie) DeMarcus Lawrence 14 ½ (2017)

10 (tie) Jim Jeffcoat 14 (1986)

10 (tie) DeMarcus Ware 14 (2007)

(Note: if you exclude the unofficial stats prior to 1982, Lawrence’s 14 ½ sacks last season is the fourth highest amount in team history following DeMarcus Ware’s three remarkable seasons in 2008 (20 sacks), 2011 (19 ½ sacks), and 2010 (15 ½ sacks).

CONSECUTIVE MULTI-SACK GAMES TO START A SEASON: 3 (tied for 1st in NFL history, post-1982)

Lawrence had two-or-more sacks in the first three games of the 2017 season. He is only the third player in NFL history, along with Mark Gastineau and Kevin Greene, to accomplish that feat.

Eric Risberg via AP

Ron Jenkins via AP

MOST CONSECUTIVE GAMES WITH A SACK: 7 (2nd longest, Cowboys; 7th longest, NFL; post-1982)

With at least one sack in the first 7 games of the 2018 season, Lawrence became the seventh player in NFL history (and the second Dallas Cowboys player) to past a sack in his team’s first seven games of the season since sacks became an official NFL statistic in 1982. Lawrence holds the 7th longest streak in league history.

NFL – Most Consecutive Games with a Sack (post-1982)

1 (tie)Simon Fletcher, Broncos 10 (1992-93)

1 (tie) DeMarcus Ware, Cowboys 10 (2007-08)

3 (tie) Bruce Smith, Bills 9 (1986-87)

3 (tie) Kevin Greene, 49ers/Panthers 9 (1997-98)

3 (tie) Dwight Freeney, Colts 9 (2008-09)

6 Everson Griffen, Vikings 9 (2017)

7 DeMarcus Lawrence, Cowboys 7 (2017)

Michael Ainsworth via AP

QB PRESSURES: 52 in 2017 (tied for most in Cowboys’ history, post-1982)

Pass rushers are measured statistically by more than ‘Sacks’, they also are credited with ‘Quarterbacks Pressures’. Last season, Lawrence recorded 52 pressures, the most by a Cowboys’ defender since Charles Haley also had 52 pressures in 1994 (the same season in which Haley won NFL Defensive Player of the Year honors).

Chris Szagola via AP

PRESSURE RATE: 11.45% (#1 in NFL for 2017 season)

If we take the number of pass rushes by a player and divide it by the number of ‘QB Pressures”, we come up with a statistic called “Pressure Rate”. In 2017, not only did Lawrence have the most QB Pressures (52) in the NFL, he also had the league’s highest “Pressure Rate”.

Top 5 NFL Pressures/Pressure % (2017 season)

1 DeMarcus Lawrence, Cowboys 454 pass rushes, 52 pressures, 11.45%

2 Jabaal Sheard, Colts 440 pass rushes, 45 pressures, 10.23%

3 Von Miller, Broncos 447 pass rushes, 41 pressures, 9.17%

4 Aaron Donald, Rams 483 pass rushes, 44 pressures, 9.11%

5 Justin Houston, Chiefs 414 pass rushes, 37 pressures, 8.94%