Washington DE Ryan Kerrigan wins NFC Defensive Player of the Week
The Washington Football Team pulled off one of the most shocking upsets of the opening week of the 2020 season by coming from behind to beat their NFC East division rival Philadelphia Eagles 27-17. Leading the charge on the defensive side of the ball for the team in the nation’s capital was their veteran leader Ryan Kerrigan who won NFC Defensive Player of the Week for his part in their dominant performance on defense that ignited the comeback.
The four-time Pro Bowl defensive end led the team in sacks by recording two of their whopping eight sacks of Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz, most in a game for the team since 2014. He also added four quarterback pressures, two quarterback hits, two tackles for loss, and a fumble recovery.
It wasn’t Kerrigan’s first multi-sack game of his career but his second quarterback takedown of the game carried historic significance because it was not only the 92nd of his decorated career but it also moved him in front of Washington legend Dexter Manley for first place on the franchise’s all-time sack leaders list.
“This is one of the older organizations in the NFL, and to have the success that a lot of players have had that have come through this organization, to have my name up there with them now, it’s awesome,” Kerrigan said about the sack record. “I don’t know if I could have ever dreamed of anything like this. It is really special to me.”
Even though Kerrigan did not start a game he played in for the first time in his 10 year career, that didn’t stop him from reminding everyone why he is not only one of the best pass rushers in franchise history but also of his generation. The former first-round pick out of Purdue in the 2011 NFL draft has been one of the most consistently productive and effective edge defenders in the league over the past decade.
He now finds himself as the elder statesman in a very young but extremely talented defensive end position group that features another pair first-round selections including rookie Chase Young who Washington selected with second overall pick out of Ohio State back in April and had quite the debut in Week One by finishing second on the team in sacks with 1.5 and added four tackles, a forced fumble and a quarterback hit. Kerrigan has already been a great mentor and resource for Young who got the starting nod over him on Sunday.
“The important thing is that it just shows how selfless Ryan Kerrigan is and how true Washington Football Team player he is,” Head Coach Ron Rivera said of Chase Young starting over Kerrigan.
“He understands that we have a couple of young guys we got to get on the field, but he also knows that he has a tremendous role and impact while coming off the bench and being fresh and getting two sacks and recovering a fumble and cause a couple other plays that happened out there. Speaks to who he is as a young man and what he means to our franchise going forward.”