Which QB has been sacked the most in a single NFL season?


The infamous title of “single-season leader for being sacked” is not a phrase anyone wants near their name. It’s pretty awful being invited to that club.

With the 2022 NFL season upon us, it only makes sense that quarterbacks are antsy to stay up as much as they can. No one wants to pull a David Carr or Randall Cunningham-type season where record numbers of sacks took place.

Chicago Bears signal-caller Justin Fields is one of the many QBs in question after inklings of the 23-year-old getting sacked a bunch of times this season. 

Let’s take a look back at a little history of some of the quarterback single-season leaders for being sacked, beginning with the one and only David Carr:

Who are the top 10 NFL quarterback single-season leaders for sacks?

Here are 10 NFL quarterbacks who have been on the wrong end of the most single-season sacks on record:

1. David Carr

During his 2002 season with the Houston Texans, Carr was sacked 76 times, officially achieving the all-time record for the quarterback who was sacked the most in a single season.

2. Randall Cunningham

When Cunningham served as the quarterback for the Philadelphia Eagles, he was sacked 72 times in the 1986 season.

3. David Carr

Carr enters the list again, and still with the Texans. The quarterback fell 68 times from sacks during Houston’s 2005 season.

4. Jon Kitna

During his 2006 season with the Detroit Lions, Kitna was sacked 63 times.

T-5. Steve Beuerlein

From 1996 to 2000, Beuerlein served as the quarterback for the Carolina Panthers. He was sacked 62 times in 2000.

T-5. Ken O’Brien

New York Jets’ quarterback Ken O’Brien tied Beuerlein with 62 sacks. He did so during his 1985 season.

T-5. Deshaun Watson

Watson, who will be suspended for 11 games for the upcoming 2022 NFL season, sits right in the same boat with Beuerlein and O’Brien, also having been sacked 62 times during a single season. This stint took place when Watson played for Houston in 2018.

8. Neil Lomax

Lomax, who served as the quarterback for the St. Louis Cardinals from 1981-1988, comes in at No. 8 with 61 sacks. He joined the list of most times sacked in a single-season during his 1985 campaign with St. Louis.

9. Randall Cunningham

Cunningham once again makes the list for the most times being sacked in a single-season after his 1992 season with the Eagles. He was sacked 60 times.

10. Tony Eason

And finally, New England Patriots quarterback Eason comes in at No. 10 with 59 sacks, which he received during his 1984 season with the Pats.

What trends are we seeing for QBs who have been sacked the most?

Based on the statistics, it seems that No. 1 overall picks suffer the most. Both Carr, who falls at first and third most times being sacked in a single-season, and Jeff George, who falls at 11th, were No. 1 draft picks in their respective classes. The Texans selected Carr with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2002 NFL Draft, while George was the No. 1 overall pick in the 1990 NFL Draft by the Indianapolis Colts.

Additionally, Eason, who sits at No. 10 on the most-sacked list, and O’Brien, who holds No. 5, both were part of the famed 1983 NFL Draft class. 

And finally, Kitna, No. 4 on the list, as well as Beuerlein, who sits at No. 5, are outliers. They are the only two quarterbacks who were in their 30s during their record-breaking single-season sack occurrences. It seems as if the younger the quarterback, the more sacks he takes.

What can we expect this season?

Currently J.J. Watt and Aaron Donald have the eighth-most sacks completed in a single season. Watt is behind his brother, T.J., of the Pittsburgh Steelers, who tied Michael Strahan’s record of 22.5 sacks

Perhaps this year’s wide variety of linebackers will have a chance to make history, considering how Fields’ avoidance of sacks is questionable entering this season.

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