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Monday, October 27, 2008
Joey Porter on pace to break NFL sacks record


Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Graham

 
 Joel Auerbach/US Presswire
 Miami's Joey Porter is on pace to break Michael Strahan's single-season sack record.

MIAMI -- Maybe Brett Favre can lie down for Joey Porter this year.

Porter, with an NFL-leading 10.5 sacks, is on pace to break Michael Strahan's record for most in a season. If Porter maintains his pace, he will finish with 24.

Strahan finished 2001 with 22.5 sacks for the New York Giants, a half more than Mark Gastineau had with the New York Jets in 1984. Strahan broke the record when Favre infamously fell down in the season finale.

The Dolphins visit Favre and the New York Jets in the season finale.

Porter had a mammoth performance Sunday to help the Dolphins beat the Buffalo Bills, 25-16. He registered two sacks (one that led to a safety), forced two fumbles and recovered a fumble.

The season so far has been vindicating for Porter, who faced criticism after signing a five-year, $32 million contract last year and then finished with only 5.5 sacks. Former Dolphins defensive coordinator Dom Capers couldn't figure out how to use Porter, but new coordinator Paul Pasqualoni hasn't had much trouble.

"I told you, 'If you really watch football and know football you would understand it,' " Porter said Sunday. "But y'all just pen pushers. So all y'all see is 'Joey, 5 1/2 [sacks], that's not good enough.' Now you're understanding the defense and what we're doing out there.

"I told you, you get me in a 3-4 defense, 10 sacks is a given for a good outside linebacker. If you want to consider yourself good, nine or 10 is just what you're supposed to get. It's not even a big deal."

Porter's 10.5 sacks match his career-high set in 2000 and equaled in 2005 for the Pittsburgh Steelers. He has been to three Pro Bowls and named All Pro once, but you wouldn't have known it by watching him last year.

"I've never really been in a system to where a lot of the defense I'm featured," Porter said. "They put me in position to make some plays. They put me in position to make plays a lot, and I put that on myself to go out and make the plays.

"It's a player-friendly defense, puts me in a lot of opportunities to have one-on-one with the back, one-on-one with the tackle. I'm isolated in a lot of situations. It's on me to win those matchups."

The Dolphins' record for sacks is 18.5 by Bill Stanfill in 1973 and Jason Taylor in 2002.

Porter lined up against Pro Bowl left tackle Jason Peters on Sunday. Porter beat Peters with an inside move on the sack that forced Trent Edwards to fumble, leading to a crucial fourth-quarter safety.

"He's still a good tackle," Porter said. "Take nothing way from him. He's still in the top three tackles in this game. Today, he was just put in some situations where I had the chance to make some plays on him."