When looking at game stats you may notice a few players will often end the game with half a sack. This leaves many fans wondering what exactly a half-sack is and why they are calculated like this.
A half-sack in football is exactly what you think it is. When multiple players come together to sack a quarterback half sacks are given out.
Interestingly half sacks are not only given out when two players come together to tackle a quarterback. If three defenders combine to bring down a quarterback, all three will be attributed with a half-sack.
For this reason, it can be helpful to think of a half-sack as an assist. Like an assisted tackle, a half-sack is awarded anytime you help bring the quarterback down for a sack.
How Do Half Sacks Count In Team Stats
Sacks are counted for each individual player but they are also kept for the team as a whole. When it comes to half sacks these are only featured in player statistics.
When it comes to counting sacks as a team they will simply add one sack each time the quarterback is tackled as a passer.
If three players converge for half sacks the team will simply add one sack. Adding 1.5 sacks for the three halve sacks would simply lead to an inaccurate number of sacks for the team.
How Do They Usually Occur
Now that you understand how .5 sacks work its time to check out some examples. After all how exactly do multiple players end up sacking a single quarterback?
One High One Low
One of the most common ways player split sacks occur is when one goes high and the other low.
Oftentimes when a defensive player gets a hold of the quarterbacks lower body he will not be able to bring them down. Instead, this grip of the lower body will slow the quarterback’s movement and allow other teammates to reach him.
This often results in another player hitting the quarterback high, ultimately bringing him to the ground.
In this scenario, both players will split the sack.
On some plays, you may notice the referees blowing the whistle before the quarterback is brought to the ground. On these plays, the pocket collapses and the quarterback is usually in a defenders grasp.
The whistle is blown on these plays in order to protect the health of the quarterback. Since multiple players are involved in the lack of forward progress multiple half sacks are often given out.
Blitzing Defensive Back
On some occasions, defensive backs will be tasked with blitzing the quarterback on a play. Cornerbacks and safeties are noticeably smaller than most defensive players.
When attempting to tackle a quarterback you are often looking at a half foot and close to fifty-pound weight difference. This can make it very difficult for some of these players to bring the quarterback down.
Oftentimes these players will hit the quarterback but will not quite have the strength to bring them down on their own. On these occasions, defensive lineman or linebackers will eventually make their way to the quarterback.
Once they arrive they will bring down the quarterback together.