The NFC Defensive Player of the Month for November is none other than the NFL’s sack-leader, San Francisco 49ers linebacker Aldon Smith.
Despite having a bye to start the month, Smith led the NFL with 9.0 sacks in three games. He also had 5.5 more sacks than any other NFC defender. Those efforts put Smith atop the league’s sack leaders where he currently has 16.5 for the season.
It’ll be an intriguing end to the regular season for the 49ers linebacker. Smith needs 1.5 sacks to break Hall of Fame defensive end Fred Dean’s single-season sack record (17.5) set in 1983. He also needs 6.5 sacks in five games to break Michael Strahan’s NFL single-season sack record of 22.5.
Smith’s recent stretch of play has been impressive to say the least.
“We’re always happy for the other guy’s success,” head coach Jim Harbaugh said on Nov. 26. “The thing that really gets you excited when you start talking about the history of the game or the history of the franchise, that’s something that’s accomplished by very few people or very few units. Happy for Aldon, happy for our defensive unit, happy for that team effort that those men have done on that side of the ball. It’s really a team thing too, if you were to break it down to its fundamental core. It’s that team that puts you in the situation that you can have that kind of success. Proud as heck, proud as heck for Aldon and let’s keep on trucking.”
Smith will look to keep on trucking in his home state of Missouri this Sunday when the 49ers face the St. Louis Rams. Smith needs just one sack to break Hall of Fame defensive end Reggie White’s record of 31 sacks in his first two seasons in the league.
Furthermore, Smith already has 31.5 sacks in 27 games, becoming the quickest to player to reach 30 sacks in NFL history, a record previously held by White.
In winning the Player of the Month honors, Smith became the first 49ers player to earn the honor since Walt Harris received it in 2006.
Smith also becomes the first 49ers linebacker to win the honor since Ken Norton Jr. in 1995.
Tags: Aldon Smith, Fred Dean, Jim Harbaugh
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