Saturday, November 6, 2021

Four Run/Pass Stuffs for Micah Parsons Last Sunday

 By Nick Webster 
Micah Parsons
At PFJ we track tackles for loss the same way sacks are scored. It is not like the way NFLGIS does it—they only use lead tackles and ignore plays in which there is a forced fumble and it is not how Stats, LLC does it, they do not include pass plays.

That said, I have been working on run/pass stuffs for a couple of decades and have been able to find some excellent performances but it cannot ever be completed because too many gamebooks do not include the needed data and there are too many films that are also not around to fill in the gaps. 

However, there is enough to learn about some great performances going way back and fans of the NFL can appreciate some great names and great performances that otherwise might not be known and that is why I've undertaken this project.

That said, here is a list of players who have had four or more run/pass stuffs that I've been able to uncover.

Micah Parsons had four on Halloween, three on pass plays, and the most total stuffs since Jadeveon Clowney had four in 2019. In 2015 DeMarcus Lawrence had four the last Cowboy to have four stuffs before Parsons.

The most in a game that have so far been uncovered are Don Blackmon, of the Patriots, and Washington's Neal Olkewicz and Joe Rutgens with five. Certainly, it is possible there are others with five or even someone with six, but if so, that is a treasure I will find in the future, hopefully.

By far the funnest one discovered is Bill Hewitt's four tackles for loss in 1933 against the Packers. I sure wish there were more records available to find missing pre-WWII games with great defensive achievements in them. 
Bill Hewitt
All four of T.J. McDonald's stuffs were on pass plays when he totaled four in 2016 against the 49ers the only player with more than Parsons had on this list. 
Deacon Jones in 1972
Deacon Jones appears twice, once as a Ram and once as a Charger. Junior Seau, J.J. Watt, and Bruce Smith appropriately are on the list with Deacon since they are four that have 100 or more career run/pass stuffs with Junior having the most of that foursome.
J.J. Watt

Of course, I realize that stuffs, like sacks, will have varying value depending on the circumstance of the game and that a stuff is a team effort—and just like all football stats, it skewed in that way.

If a quarterback throws a touchdown it's a team effort—the center snaps, the line blocks, the receivers run routes the quarterback throws, and the receiver catches. We still count all those individual stats, the attempt, the completion, the touchdown pass, the catch, the yards, the touchdown reception and so on. 

As with a sack, a stuff is a group effort but tracking them individually has merit. Again, like with sacks, over time and careers, it seems the good players with the ability to shed blockers and get into the backfield sit atop my stuff lists.

A stuff does, however, have great value in many game situations. On first-and-ten, if a team runs, they want to get at least four yards. If they lost a yeard they are five yards behind the sticks. 

If they threw incomplete on first down, often they will run on second down to make third down more manageable. If they lose a yard on second-and-ten, they are in an even longer third down than if they are an incomplete pass. 

If it is short yardage, then a no gain is usually as good as a loss for the defense, but if it is third and short, and teams going for it so often on fourth down, then a one- or two-yard loss on third down makes fourth down tougher. 

The bottom line is a tackle for a loss is a positive play for the defense and is worthy of being tracked and tallied and we can learn more about the game knowing the numbers as opposed to not knowing them, at least that is my view.

Single-games can be anomalous with some odd names popping up but that is the great part of single-game records the usual names appearing alongside the lesser-known players. Timmie Smith still holds the single-game rushing mark for Super Bowls just ahead of Marcus Allen, who is next. And that is terrific, I think. 

The top three names tied for this unofficial record are not household names but Washington fans will remember them as Patriots fans will with Blackmon and it sheds some light in their careers and now, with Micah Parsons coming within one of tying those three if gives folks a chance to remember some fun names of the past around an interesting but key stat.

Hope you enjoy the chart.
edited 4/25/2022


  1. ....Mr. Nick Webster is a dedicated researcher, and this story highlights an area that would be fascinating to see in record manuals.

  2. Nick, great stuff as always. Another for the archives: Jessie Tuggle 1989 Washington v Falcons WK 15. -4 pass, -4 pass, -4 run, -3 run.