How many sacks did Peters really surrender?

April, 22, 2009
4/22/09
8:30
AM ET
Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Graham

There's no official stat for sacks allowed, which shouldn't be a surprise because NFL teams can't even agree on how to credit players with tackles.

  Peters

Yet left tackle Jason Peters has been tagged with a figure that has been accepted as fact. Reports hither and yon have him guilty of surrendering 11.5 sacks in his 13 games with the Buffalo Bills last year.

Bills fans have been scratching their heads over where this sack number, which would be among the worst in the league, comes from.

STATS Inc. came up with the number and charged him with losses of 106.5 yards, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer in reports since Peters was traded to the Eagles.

But as Tom Curran of NBCSports.com points out:

"The sack stat -- who gets them and who gets blamed for them -- is one of the most bogus in football since they can be the by-product of so many things. They can be attributed to excellent coverage, a skittish quarterback, miscommunication, a teammate's pressure. Sacks are like snowflakes, people. Each one different."

I went searching for corroborating evidence. Elias Sports Bureau doesn't tally sacks allowed like it tracks dropped passes, so that option was out.

But old reliable, KC Joyner, was quick with a response. Yes, the Football Scientist records sacks allowed when he breaks down film.

Joyner's number for Peters was 12. Close enough for my statistical satisfaction, if not Trent Edwards' health.

Joyner elaborates:

"The good news is that five of those were some variant of the coverage sack (i.e. either a pure coverage sack or a coverage sack that was combined with another sack variant such as scheme, pursuit, blown block, etc.).

"The bad news is that 5.5 of those sacks were of the one-on-one variety, but even that negative has a silver lining in that only the best pass-rushers seemed to beat Peters in a one-on-one. For example, he gave up three of his one-on-ones to Chris Long and Joey Porter, so it typically took a talented defender to get past him."

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