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The Myth of Jared Allen's Fourth Quarter Sack Production

As I read the comments in the fanpost over on the side connected to the Jared Allen interview posted by FSU Viking, I said I'd be curious to see a breakdown of the number of run plays and pass plays used by KC opponents in the games that Jared Allen played in last season.

Well, curiosity killed the. . .something or other. So, I set about breaking this down myself.  Keeping in mind that Allen missed the Chiefs' first two games last season, here's how the fourth quarters of the 14 games the Chiefs played in 2007 looked like.

Opponent Score after 3 Opp. Pass Plays Opp. Run Plays Final Score
MIN MIN 10, KC 6 12 3 KC 13, MIN 10
@ SD KC 16, SD 16 12 2 KC 30, SD 16
JAC JAC 10, KC 0 9 11 JAC 17, KC 7
CIN KC 20, CIN 7 21 2 KC 27, CIN 20
@ OAK OAK 7, KC 6 8 4 KC 12, OAK 10
GB GB 13, KC 7 6 5 GB 33, KC 22
DEN DEN 20, KC 11 5 13 DEN 27, KC 11
@ IND KC 10, IND 10 9 7 IND 13, KC 10
OAK KC 17, OAK 13 5 6 OAK 20, KC 17
SD SD 17, KC 10 4 11 SD 24, KC 10
@ DEN DEN 41, KC 7 3 4 DEN 41, KC 7
TEN TEN 20, KC 17 1 15 TEN 26, KC 17
@ DET DET 22, KC 14 6 11 DET 25, KC 20
@ NYJ NYJ 10, KC 3 7 17 NYJ 13, KC 10 (OT)

By my count, that's 108 pass plays and 111 run plays faced by the Chiefs' defense in the 14 games that Jared Allen participated in.  However, if you look at the games that they lost, those numbers change to 55 pass plays and 100 run plays, a nearly 2:1 ratio in favor of the run.  It's relatively tough to get sacks when the other team isn't. . .you know. . .throwing the football.  Looking at the play-by-play stuff I sifted through in order to put that table together, I didn't see a lot of other Kansas City Chiefs racking up sacks in the fourth quarters of ball games either, and we know that Allen was the only guy on that line that was worthy of being double-teamed.

In addition, there's more to Allen's pass-rushing than just sacks.  Last season, he also had 24 quarterback hurries, which is a pretty significant number.  To put that in perspective, Minnesota's leader in that department. . .Kenechi Udeze. . .had 15.  E.J. Henderson was next in line with 11.  So Allen had almost as many quarterback hurries in 2007. . .in two fewer games, mind you. . .than the Vikings' top two players in that category combined.  And, again, he did it on a defensive line that didn't have a whole lot else.  Tamba Hali is a nice player, but with Allen out of the picture, I expect to see him getting more of those double teams until Glenn Dorsey can establish himself in the middle.

I expect Allen to be in a much different situation with the Vikings this season.  As the Vikings' offense prepares to take another step forward in its development, I expect them to have the lead going into the fourth quarter on many, many occasions in 2008.  Since he'll be lining up next to the Irresistible Force and the Immovable Object on the Vikings' defensive line, he'll also be seeing. . .and destroying. . .more one-on-one blocking.  There have been a couple of places I've seen predicting a possible 20-sack season for Allen.  Honestly?  I'd love to see it.  I don't know if I'd predict as many as 20, what with there no longer being any spineless QBs in the NFC North that might be willing to take a dive for him, but he should get a significant number of sacks in 2008. . .and plenty in the fourth quarter, too.