For years the popular maxim has been that NFL franchises are only as strong their coach/quarterback combination. But with rules “evolving” yearly to aid the passing game a third pillar has firmly emerged as equal to the aforementioned pair: pass rusher. Watching the conference championship games on Sunday reaffirmed this.
And pass rush, despite what people will have you believe, is not necessarily a quantifiable statistic. Sacks are great but pressuring a quarterback into a poorly timed throw can often be far better. Sustained pressure throughout a game is a recipe for success but intense pressure in the fourth quarter, with the game on the line, is a recipe for championships.
Pass rushers, much like quarterbacks, must raise their games in the pivotal moments.