Matthew Judon is in the middle of another very good season, and he will have a chance over the next two weeks to turn it into a historic one. He is, after all, closing in on the New England Patriots’ single-season sack record — a record that has stood for quite some time.
Back in 1984, future Pro Football Hall of Famer Andre Tippett registered 18.5 quarterback takedowns in 16 games. With the benefit of a 17th regular season game since added, Judon has a realistic shot at surpassing that mark.
At the moment, the recent Pro Bowl selection stands at 15.5 sacks
“Yeah, I’d like to [set a new record],” Judon told reporters on Thursday. “I’m pretty sure Tipp is tired of sitting on that throne, so hopefully I can dethrone him.”
Registering 3.5 sacks over the coming two weeks to surpass Tippett’s franchise mark will not be easy, though. Over the course of his seven-year career Judon has only three two-game stretches with that many takedowns — and none since Weeks 3 and 4 of his 2021 campaign.
Furthermore, he will be going up against two solid pass-protecting offensive lines. The Patriots will face the Miami Dolphins this week, who are ranked 11th in the NFL with 32 sacks given up. New England’s Week 18 opponent, the Buffalo Bills, are 10th with 31.
At the end of the day, however, Judon knows that chasing individual records is not really the primary goal: he needs to help his team win, especially given the current situation it finds itself in.
“It comes within a scheme and a defensive game plan,” he said. “I can’t really just go out there wilding and chasing records and chasing goals and abandoning my duties and my discipline to the team.”
The Patriots need to win their game against the Dolphins on Sunday to keep their playoff hopes alive, at least for another week. In order to then punch the ticket without relying on other games across the league, a victory in the regular season finale in Buffalo is paramount as well.
“It’s been a crazy year but we’re still in it. We still got something to fight for,” Judon said. “So, that’s what we’re going out there to play for. And that’s what we’re going to hang our hat on: we know we’re not out of the race.”