What is a sack in football?

In football, a sack occurs when the quarterback is tackled before he can throw a pass or is forced out of bounds due to pressure from defensive players.

Sacks in football are caused by defensive players that are engaged in the pass rush. The pass rush refers to players whose intention is to sack the quarterback on the play.

An offensive line is a group of offensive players who protect the quarterback from being sacked. When these players spend the play protecting the quarterback this is referred to as pass protection.

Sacks are valuable for the defensive team as the outcome is a loss of yards and a down. Since sacks can only occur behind the line of scrimmage they will always result in a tackle for loss.

When a quarterback attempts to run the ball tackling him will not count as a sack. Even if the quarterback is tackled behind the line of scrimmage it will not be credited as a sack if it is clear his intention was to run.

Which players tend to get sacks in football?

Defensive Ends

Defensive ends are the position most likely to earn a large number of sacks throughout a season. Defensive ends line up on the end of the defensive line and tend to specialize in pass rushing.

These players often rush one on one against offensive tackles in order to get to the quarterback. Their close proximity to the quarterback and number of snaps spent pass-rushing allows defensive ends to earn a lot of sacks throughout a season.

Outside Linebackers

The outside linebacker position is another that is able to earn a lot of sacks via pass rushing. In a 3-4 defense outside linebackers are often going to line up on the line of scrimmage and rush the passer.

Their wide stance allows them to pass rush against the tackle in an attempt to get around him to the quarterback. Outside linebackers will often pass rush when a defense calls a blitz.

This can allow outside linebackers easy opportunities to get to the quarterback due to the number of players rushing the quarterback.

Defensive Tackles

Defensive tackles are another defensive line position that can accumulate a fair amount of sacks in football. These players line up in the middle of the defensive line and face off against centers and offensive guards.

Oftentimes defensive tackles can be used as a means to occupy offensive linemen so that other players are able to get sacks.

Though defensive tackles will also pass rush themselves and can often achieve sacks by beating interior offensive linemen.

What is a strip sack?

A strip-sack in football is a play in which a defensive player sacks the quarterback and forces a fumble. When a quarterback is sacked they are often not protecting the football properly.

This leads to many forced fumbles being generated on sacks. When a quarterback is sacked and fumbles it is bad news for the offense.

Best case the offense will recover the ball but the loss of down and yardage from the sack and fumble make a first down difficult to achieve. Worst case the defense is able to recover the fumble and the other team gains possession of the ball.

That is all for our guide to sacks in football, if you want to learn more see our articles on what is an assisted tackle in football or learn about Comb in football statistics.

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