Allen needed just one more calf to rope for record day

  • Article by: CHIP SCOGGINS , Star Tribune
  • Updated: January 2, 2012 - 1:24 AM

The defensive end had 3 1/2 sacks, finishing one short of Michael Strahan's NFL mark.

hide

Vikings defensive end Jared Allen sacked Bears quarterback Josh McCown in the third quarter, one of his three in that period. He had 3½ to finish with 22, a half-sack behind Michael Strahan’s NFL record.

Photo: Jerry Holt, Star Tribune

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

Jared Allen desperately wanted one more one-on-one matchup, one more third-and-long, one more surefire passing situation.

He also wouldn't have complained if Chicago Bears quarterback Josh McCown had offered his help. Maybe a little trip, turtle roll and two-hand-touch sack. Those count, too.

Allen stood one calf-roping celebration from Michael Strahan's single-season NFL sack record Sunday, and he smelled blood. Everyone inside the Metrodome knew it, including the Bears, who resorted to double- and triple-teams at times to prevent being on the wrong side of history.

Ultimately, the Vikings offense didn't do enough to force the Bears into attack mode. Instead, the Bears simply milked the clock with handoffs for a 17-13 victory, leaving Allen a half-sack shy of Strahan's record.

A stream of teammates approached Allen afterward to offer congratulations and acknowledge his efforts in an otherwise forgettable season.

"It's like being runner-up at the prom," Allen said. "The crown just doesn't mean as much."

Allen recorded 3 1/2 sacks Sunday to finish with 22, which eclipsed Chris Doleman's team record of 21 set in 1989. Doleman watched the game from the sideline and congratulated Allen after he set the franchise record in the third quarter. Then he encouraged Allen to go after Strahan's mark.

"I was just amped, just to be a half a sack away," Allen said.

His pursuit of Strahan's record made the fourth quarter of a meaningless finale in a dismal season historically compelling. Allen looked more energized with each sack and pass rush, and fans buzzed in anticipation every time the defense took the field. His teammates felt it, too.

"You were like, this is going to happen," linebacker Chad Greenway said. "You wish McCown would have pulled a Brett Favre."

Favre, remember, handed Strahan a phantom sack by falling down for the record-setter in 2001. That play generated criticism over the validity of the record, and it came up again with Allen finishing a half-sack behind Strahan.

Allen, however, didn't join the chorus.

"It doesn't bother me at all," he said. "People talk about it, but a sack is a sack is a sack. I have gotten some where I was the closest to a guy when he ran out of bounds, so I will take it."

Greenway joked on the sideline that somebody should ask McCown if he would take a dive.

"But obviously in a close game it's not going to happen," Greenway said. "And it's the Bears. They're definitely not going to do it."

Instead, the Bears used tight ends to help left tackle J'Marcus Webb, who also had his share of one-on-one matchups early in the game.

"They made it difficult on [Allen] that last 15 minutes," defensive tackle Kevin Williams said. "Shoot, they put a bunch of guys over there. They didn't want to give it up."

Allen figures he left at least three sacks on the field this season, including one that was a ruled a team sack against Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers. A few others slipped through his grasp.

"Each year you are going to have a bunch of 'almosts,' " he said. "When I first got into the league, one of the vets told me, 'You're going to miss two before you get one.' "

Allen didn't miss too often this season, which enabled him to double his sack total from last season (11), his lowest since 2006. Allen vowed to return a different player during his exit interview with Leslie Frazier last January.

"He said, 'Coach, what we saw in 2010 will not be the Jared Allen you see in 2011,' " Frazier recalled. "He was so committed to playing at a high level."

The Vikings should return the favor this offseason. They need to upgrade the talent around Allen so that his premier pass-rushing skills aren't wasted in 3-13 seasons. Allen was one of the few bright spots this season and not just because of his sacks. He played hard every down, every game, regardless of the circumstances. He kept fighting as the losses stacked up.

"It's a great example for a lot of us," Williams said. "Just to see him giving it all he's got."

Allen did that to the end but came up just a little short of the record. He usually celebrates sacks by pretending to rope a calf. That would have looked fairly tame if he had gotten one more half-sack.

"I would have thrown my helmet in the crowd," he said. "I would have jumped up, kissed my wife, kissed my baby in the suite, walked into the locker room and quit. I might have done some turf angels. They probably would have given me a 15-yard penalty because I had been celebrating so much."

In a season like this, no one would have cared.

ascoggins@startribune.com

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Fla Southern 2 FINAL
Detroit 12
FIU 2 FINAL
Miami 7
Toronto 114 FINAL
Philadelphia 103
Golden State 108 FINAL
Brooklyn 110
Phoenix 98 FINAL
Miami 115
LA Clippers 110 FINAL
Minnesota 105
New Orleans 93 FINAL
Dallas 102
Nashville 1 FINAL
NY Rangers 4
Carolina 2 FINAL
Chicago 5
Montreal 0 FINAL
San Jose 4
Virginia 59 FINAL
Syracuse 47
Baylor 59 FINAL
Texas 61
SE Louisiana 79 FINAL
Northwestern St 92
Central Arkansas 49 FINAL
Sam Houston St 76
Norfolk State 59 FINAL
Howard 61
Bethune-Cookman 50 FINAL
NC A&T 67
Hampton 75 FINAL
Delaware State 85
Lamar 69 FINAL
McNeese State 70
Nicholls 89 FINAL
New Orleans 79
Incarnate Word 62 FINAL
Stephen F Austin 83
NC Central 62 FINAL
Savannah State 49
Texas Southern 77 FINAL
Alabama A&M 75
Prairie View 67 FINAL
Alabama State 65
Oklahoma 70 FINAL
Iowa State 77
Grambling St 62 FINAL
Miss Valley St 66
Boston College 66 FINAL
Virginia Tech 59
Jackson State 62 FINAL
Ark-Pine Bluff 64
Bethune-Cookman 55 FINAL
NC A&T 58
Hampton 78 FINAL
Delaware State 63
Norfolk State 63 FINAL
Howard 60
NC Central 54 FINAL
Savannah State 65
Texas Southern 83 FINAL
Alabama A&M 46
Prairie View 42 FINAL
Alabama State 60
Jackson State 78 FINAL
Ark-Pine Bluff 74
Grambling 56 FINAL
Miss Valley St 61
Tulsa 71 FINAL
Cincinnati 58
(1) Connecticut 88 FINAL
South Florida 65
UCF 57 FINAL
East Carolina 67
Central Conn St 53 FINAL
Bryant 55
Wagner 66 FINAL
Robert Morris 60
Sacred Heart 75 FINAL
Fairleigh Dickinson 84
St Francis-NY 73 FINAL
Long Island 49
Mount St Marys 87 FINAL
St Francis-PA 90
Temple 56 FINAL
Houston 45
Texas Tech 65 FINAL
(6) Baylor 75
Iowa State 64 FINAL
Kansas 68
SMU 60 FINAL
Memphis 53
Oklahoma 66 FINAL
Oklahoma St 56
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Date/Opponent Time W L Score
2014 preseason     
Aug 8 - vs. Oakland 7 pmX10-6
Aug 16 - vs. Arizona 7:30 pmX30-28
Aug 23 - at Kansas City 7 pmX30-12
Aug 28 - at Tennessee 7 pmX19-3
2014 regular season     
Sep 7 - at St. Louis NoonX34-6
Sep 14 - vs. New England NoonX30-7
Sep 21 - at New Orleans NoonX20-9
Sep 28 - vs. Atlanta 3:25 pmX41-28
Oct 2 - at Green Bay 7:25 pmX42-10
Oct 12 - vs. Detroit NoonX17-3
Oct 19 - at. Buffalo NoonX17-16
Oct 26 - at Tampa Bay NoonX19-13 ot
Nov 2 - vs. Washington NoonX29-26
Nov 9 - Bye
Nov 16 - at Chicago NoonX21-13
Nov. 23 - vs. Green Bay NoonX24-21
Nov. 30 - vs. Carolina NoonX31-13
Dec 7 - vs. NY Jets NoonX30-24 ot
Dec 14 - at Detroit 3:25 pmX16-14
Dec 21 - at Miami NoonX37-35
Dec 28 - vs. Chicago NoonX13-9

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: With Adrian Peterson's suspension overturned, what should the Vikings do?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close