Take another bow, Robert Quinn. On Wednesday, the Professional Football Writers of America voted the St. Louis Rams third-year defensive end NFL Defensive Player of the Year. In honor of this award, here’s a look back at the top six performances from Quinn’s standout season.
1. Quinn’s starts strong against Arizona Cardinals
Call it a sign of things to come. On the sixth play of the Cardinals opening drive, Quinn recorded his first sack and first forced fumble of the season simultaneously. He knocked Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer for a seven-yard loss but the ball was recovered by Arizona.
But Quinn was not finished. He ended the Cardinals opening drive by sacking Palmer again, this time for an eight-yard loss. All told, Quinn terrorized Palmer and the Cardinals for three sacks and two forced fumbles. For his disruptive role in the 27-24 Week 1 win, Quinn was named NFC Defensive Player of the Week.
2. Sack and forced fumble caps win over Houston Texans
Their win over the Texans might have been one of the Rams most dominating performances all season. At the time, it was a statement win for a team that was still trying to find its footing during a difficult start to the season. Quinn capped the win by sacking Texans quarterback T.J. Yates and forcing a fumble to seal the win for the Rams.
3. Quinn stuffs the Seattle Seahawks
On the Seahawks first play, Quinn stuffed Pro Bowl running back Marshawn Lynch three yards behind the line of scrimmage. Five plays later, Quinn got to quarterback Russell Wilson for the first of his three sacks on the game.
Then, with the Seahawks threatening before halftime, Quinn put their drive on ice. On second down, Quinn reached Wilson for a five-yard sack. On the very next play, Quinn got to Wilson again, this time for a six-yard loss.
All told, it was a banner day for the Rams defense, as they held Lynch to 27 total yards and only 135 total yards for the entire Seahawks offense.
4. Quinn leads way to victory over Indianapolis Colts
The Rams arrived in Indianapolis as heavy underdogs but left with a dominating win. The onslaught started on the game’s opening drive when Quinn sacked Colts quarterback Andrew Luck for a 13-yard loss. His hit jarred the ball loose and allowed Chris Long to scoop it up and take the ball 45 yards for a touchdown. Quick 7-0 lead for the Rams. Quinn would add another sack in the Rams convincing 38-8 win over the Colts.
Quinn’s performance against the Saints might have been his best all season. He made life difficult for Saints quarterback Drew Brees, and forced the Pro Bowler into many bad throws, including an interception on New Orleans’ first drive of the game.
Things didn’t get any easier from there for the Saints – just ask left tackle Charles Brown. Quinn twice burned Brown on sacks of Brees, one of which resulted in a fumble. And when he wasn’t getting beat, Brown was flagged for two penalties. By the third quarter, Saints head coach Sean Payton “had seen enough” and benched his left tackle. The Rams went on to win in convincing fashion 27-16.
6. Quinn sets new Rams sack record
With apologies to the great Deacon Jones, former Rams defensive end Kevin Carter set the team’s “official” sack record of 17 in 1999. Fourteen years later, Quinn is the new record holder. Week 16, final home game of the season, Quinn gave the fans a reason to cheer. In addition to a strong 23-13 win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (not to mention $3 hot dogs for Fan Appreciation Day), Quinn recorded sack number 18 on the final play of the game. With less than 30 seconds left, he wrapped up Buccaneers rookie quarterback Mike Glennon for a loss and wrapped up the Rams sack record.
His effort was met with a loud ovation from the fans and he was carried off the field by his teammates. A pretty fitting image for his entire season.
The Rams could lose a key piece of their coaching staff to an SEC school.