Carson Wentz and Tom Brady currently lead the argument for Most Valuable Player of the 2017 NFL season, but Dallas Cowboys’ left tackle Tyron Smith might be worth considering too.
On Sunday, Smith wasn’t able to play against the Atlanta Falcons due to back and groin injuries. And with Smith on the sidelines, Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott spent a lot of time on his back.
Prescott was sacked eight times in Atlanta’s 27-7 win – six times by Falcons’ veteran defensive lineman Adrian Clayborn.
The six sacks in a single game is a Falcons franchise record, and Clayborn is just the fourth player in NFL history to post a six-sack game. The late Derrick Thomas holds the all-time single-game record with seven.
It was also the first time any Cowboys’ opponent has ever recorded more than four sacks in one game.
Clayborn did much of his work against Chaz Green, who started at left tackle in place of Smith. A third-round pick in 2015, Green was playing in his eighth game this season. The Cowboys benched Green and gave Byron Bell the chance to stem the tide, but Clayborn got two sacks off him as well.
The 29-year-old Clayborn forced fumbles on two of those sacks, and recovered one.
If his big day weren’t reason enough to celebrate, Clayborn’s contract has incentive bonuses based on sacks. He came into the day with two this year. Now with eight, he’s earned himself $750,000, provided he finishes the season on the 53-man roster.
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