February 2, 2010 Update:
Congratulations to Justin Smith who won with 40% of the vote. Ahmad Brooks finished a close second with 38% of the vote. Aubrayo Franklin (12%) and Parys Haralson (9%) rounded out the top four sacks of the season in the polls.
This week’s 49ers.com poll asks our Faithful fans to decide which sack was the best in 2009.
The 49ers totaled 44 sacks this past season, tied for third most in the NFL and tied for second most in the NFC. It was the best sack totals the team has posted since 1998 in which they racked up 51.
Picking the top four sacks was no easy task.
Manny Lawson led the team with 6.5 sacks and 13 other 49ers registered at least one sack in 2009. But without further delay, let’s take a look at your choices for best 49ers sack of 2009.
Our first nominee is matchup nightmare Justin Smith’s game-ending sack of Kurt Warner.
Smith out-worked and dominated the Arizona Cardinals offensive line in the 49ers Week 1 road victory over the division champs. The defensive tackle totaled an amazing 13 quarterback pressures and nine hits on Kurt Warner.
Smith hit Warner so many times, I’m not even sure this is the picture of the sack that closed Arizona’s chances for a comeback in the season opener. But it just might be the image of Smith sacking Warner with less than 10 seconds at midfield.
The man referred to as “Cowboy” inside the 49ers locker room, lassoed Warner and through him to the ground in a decisive manner. It was the perfect exclamation mark to a solid win.
Our next hopeful is last week’s 49ers.com poll winner, nose tackle Aubrayo Franklin.
Franklin gets the nod this week for his sack of four-time NFL MVP quarterback Peyton Manning. Franklin was one three 49ers to take down the never-sacked signal caller. Manning was only brought down 13 times during the regular season.
Franklin’s sack was impressive on a number of fronts. It showed all the tools that gave him a breakout season in 2009. First, he beat a double team of center Jeff Saturday and left guard Ryan Lilja to get to Manning which demonstrated Franklin’s non-stop motor. It also displayed his amazing hands as he swatted away Lilja’s block and broke through the two blockers to get to Manning.
Franklin picked up honors for best interception in 2009, will he get another award for best sack? It’s up to you to make the call.
Our third nominee is more of a group nominee, but really since one of the primary participants was already nominated (Smith), outside linebacker Parys Haralson will get the call as our third choice.
On the first play of the fourth quarter with the 49ers leading 20-3, Haralson made sure those numbers remained as the final score with a devastating sack on Garrard with the help of some friends.
Jaguars rookie left tackle Eugene Monroe decided it would be better to leave Haralson unblocked even though he was lined up directly across from him. Instead of disrupting Haralson’s route to his quarterback, Monroe looked outwards to kick out 5-10, 188-pound cornerback Dre’ Bly.
From there, Haralson corralled Garrard by the shoulder pads until Smith came over to finish the play off, knocking the ball out in the process. Defensive tackle Ray McDonald rallied to the ball and fell right on top, giving possession and momentum back to the 49ers.
Our final nominee is another outside linebacker, Ahmad Brooks, who also turned in another sack-forced fumble play.
Brooks’ performance added to the 49ers 27 sacks in the final eight games of the season which led the NFL.
The outside linebacker was also a matchup nightmare for all of Arizona’s tackles, especially left tackle Wayne Gandy.
The athletic edge rusher closed out the first half with a sack and forced fumble on Warner that silenced Arizona’s comeback bid. He did it in style by blowing past Gandy and knocking the ball out of Warner’s right arm at the top of the pocket. Smith again was involved in another one of our nominees, as he recovered the fumble.
The turnover enabled the 49ers to keep their 17-point lead intact as they head into the locker rooms for halftime. They went on to keep that lead and finish the season sweep of the Cardinals.
You can vote as many times as you’d like all week long by finding the poll on the bottom left corner of the 49ers.com home page. The winner will be announced next Monday, along with a new “Faithful Vote” for 49ers fans to debate on.
Tags: Ahmad Brooks, Aubrayo Franklin, Justin Smith, Parys Haralson
Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments »