PoF: Best Single Games - 4-3 Defensive Ends
Welcome to the Pro Football Focus Page of Fame for 4-3 defensive ends, where only the best one-off performances during our time grading (2007 – Present) are mentioned.
If this is your first visit to a “PFF PoF” then the rules are pretty simple. Each game is it’s own island, and only the highest grades make it onto the list.
Anything over a +9.0 grade for this position will get the recognition it deserves!
1. Robert Quinn, 2013 – WK12, CHI @ SL: +14.3
Pass Rush: +12.0, Run Defense: +2.1, Penalties:+0.2
Culminating with a fantastic strip fumble that he returned for a touchdown, Quinn worked over Jermon Bushrod relentlessly. He ended the day picking up a sack, two hits and eight hurries as the left tackle couldn’t find a way to slow him down. Throw in some good work in the run game and it doesn’t get much better than this.
2. Osi Umenyiora, 2007 – WK4, PHI @ NYG: +13.6
Pass Rush: +13.6, Run Defense: +0.1, Penalties:+0.2
Who could forget this game? This was when the Eagles steadfastly refused to give an overmatched Winston Justice any help, and the result was a career day for Umenyiora. It got to a stage where pressure was inevitable on a per play basis as Osi ended the day with an astonishing six sacks, one quarterback hit and seven hurries.
3. Chris Clemons, 2010 – WK3, SD @ SEA: +13.4
Pass Rush: +13.6, Run Defense: +0.6, Penalties: -0.8
Anyone remember Brandyn Dombrowski? Chris Clemons does, and fondly. The veteran looked to be heading for the scrap heap before the Seahawks took a chance with him and he rebuilt his career. The deal paid off with his big Week 3 display where he ended with a stunning two sacks, two hits and 14 quarterback hurries. A day that still hurts Philip Rivers to think about.
4. Cameron Wake, 2012 – WK4, MIA @ ARZ: +11.3
Pass Rush: +10.8, Run Defense: +0.3, Penalties: +0.2
Cameron Wake is a lot like a shark. He smells blood and then goes in for the kill. Well, the whiff of blood was in the air when he looked across at Bobby Massie, and he didn’t take long to exploit the rookie. A massive six sacks and seven hurries let everyone know that a move to a 4-3 defense didn’t hurt Wake at all.
5. Michael Bennett, 2011 – WK4, IND @ TB: +11.2
Pass Rush: +4.8, Run Defense: +6.2, Penalties: +0.2
Unlike a lot of guys featuring here, Bennett did most of his damage in the run game. That’s not to say his two-sack, one-hit, and two-hurry day wasn’t an excellent pass rushing one. It was. However, his ability to stand up blockers and redirect runners stopped Indy getting any momentum on the ground.
6. Carlos Dunlap, 2011 – WK8, CIN @ SEA: +11.1
Pass Rush: +7.7, Run Defense: +2.2, Penalties: +0.2
Dunlap wasn’t given the start in this one, but more than made his presence felt on 58 snaps as part of the Bengals’ defensive line rotation and sub-package defense. He finished with a sack, three quarterback hits and seven hurries as he terrorized the right side of the Seahawks’ line.
7. Jason Pierre-Paul, 2011 – WK13, GB @ NYG: +10.8
Pass Rush: +7.5, Run Defense: +3.0, Penalties: +0.3
First-year starters often find things tough going at the tackle spot. Especially when they’re facing a force of nature like Jason Pierre-Paul. Marshall Newhouse was worked over relentlessly as JPP picked up nine quarterback disruptions while making a nuisance of himself in the run game.
8. Dwight Freeney, 2008 – WK16, IND @ JAX: +10.6
Pass Rush: +7.7, Run Defense: +2.7, Penalties: +0.2
In our rookie year it was Freeney who finished with the highest grade of all 4-3 defensive ends. He was his usual fear-inducing self as he destroyed Khalif Barnes and finished with a sack, two hits and seven hurries. Dominant.
9. Trent Cole, 2011 – WK2, PHI @ ATL: +10.2
Pass Rush: +7.9, Run Defense: +2.1, Penalties: +0.2
The Eagles would suffer a disappointing defeat to Atlanta, but it wasn’t for the want of trying on the part of Cole. He made life impossible for Sam Baker on his way to collecting a sack, two hits of Matt Ryan and nine more hurries. If that wasn’t enough he added another four defensive stops. Fine work.
=10. Cameron Wake, 2012 – WK3, NYJ @ MIA: +9.7
Pass Rush: +7.4, Run Defense: +1.5, Penalties: +0.3
Austin Howard hardly knew what hit him. Wake didn’t end up with any quarterback sacks, but he did finish the day with three hits and eight more hurries. All this on just 40 pass rushes. What’s more, he added an impressive four defensive stops in the run game in a complete performance.
=10. Robert Quinn, 2013 – WK2, SL @ ATL: +9.7
Pass Rush: +8.3, Run Defense: +1.2, Penalties: +0.2
He had Sam Baker in his sights early and never let him off the hook. A quite sublime pick up of one sack, four quarterback hits and six quarterback hurries meant Matt Ryan felt the full force of the former first rounders power.
12. Mario Williams, 2009 – WK4, OAK @ HST: +9.6
Pass Rush: +7.3, Run Defense: +2.1, Penalties: +0.2
Performances like this earned him the name “Super Mario”. Oakland just couldn’t stop the former first overall pick, who ended the day with 10 quarterback disruptions and two more defensive stops in the run game. The pinnacle of his career in Houston.
13. Brian Robison, 2012 – WK1, JAX @ MIN: +9.5
Pass Rush: +7.8, Run Defense: +1.4, Penalties: +0.3
Robison decided 2012 was a year he was going to start as he meant to go on. The Vikings’ defensive left end had Blaine Gabbert in his sights from moment one, and ended the day with three quarterback hits and a further six hurries (along with a batted pass). Not bad at all.
14. Ray Edwards, 2009 – WK10, DET @ MIN: +9.2
Pass Rush: +8.9, Run Defense: +1.1, Penalties: -0.8
There was a time when Ray Edwards was as good as it got from a defensive left end standpoint. Staggeringly consistent, he also reached heights few did in one-off games. Take the 11 quarterback disruptions he picked up here against Detroit. A talented tackle like Gosder Cherilus just couldn’t get to grips with him.
15. Jason Pierre-Paul, NYG – WK5, ATL @ NYG: +9.1
Pass Rush: +4.8, Run Defense: +3.6, Penalties: +0.2
It was a man against boy encounter as JPP took rookie Jake Matthews to town with a bullying performance. He ended his day with two hits and four hurries, taking over the second half of this game with his power. What’s more his work in the run game ensured the Falcons would have no joy getting into manageable down and distances.
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