Posted: Nov 18, 2013 4:54 PM by Clayton Conness, KOMU 8 Sports Digital Producer
Updated: Nov 18, 2013 5:46 PM
ST. LOUIS - Amid a losing season, the Rams proved to the NFL they do have one good thing going for them: Tavon Austin. In St. Louis' Week 10 victory over Indianapolis, Austin shined a bright light on an otherwise sub-par team by recording a punt return touchdown and two touchdown receptions. But the real star on this 4-6 squad is a man who has dominated on the defensive side of the ball all year long.
Third year defensive end Robert Quinn is on pace to finish the season with 19.0 sacks, which would tie him for thirteenth best all-time with three other players. His 12.0 sacks rank second in the league and have combined for a net loss of 98 yards, the most by any defender in the NFL. In addition, Quinn leads the league in forced fumbles with five, one of which came in his team's triumph over the Colts last week.
His dominant play this season has been recognized nationally by the NFL. In Week 1, he was named NFC Defensive Player of the Week by the league for a performance that included three sacks and two forced fumbles. The 3.0 sacks set a career high for Quinn, and he later recorded another 3.0 sack game in Week 8.
The 23-year-old Quinn is showing signs of a potential Hall-of-Fame career. If he does finish the season with 19.0 sacks, he will have compiled 34.5 sacks through his first three seasons. Hall-of-Fame defensive end Howie Long only managed to tally 30.5 sacks in his first three years in the NFL. In a more up-to-date comparison, Vikings DE Jared Allen had just 27.5 sacks in his opening three seasons.
Quinn isn't leaving St. Louis anytime soon either. He is under contract through the 2014 season with a club option for 2015. If he and the rookie Austin keep up this caliber of play, the Rams may soon end their stretch of non-winning seasons that dates back to 2003.