Brandon Graham walked through the Eagles' locker room at Lincoln Financial Field with a big smile on his face. While the season was over in terms of playoff chances, the Eagles beat the Giants 24-19 to snap their five-game losing streak.
Graham played a big role in the win. He provided pressure all day. But there was just one thing on his mind as he strolled from the showers to his locker stall.
"I should have had him!" Graham said, still smiling, but now shaking his head.
With 25 seconds left in the game, Graham piled up his fourth quarterback hit on Eli Manning, but the Giants' QB was able to keep his right arm free and throw the ball away. A little bit later, Manning threw a desperation interception and the Eagles sealed the game.
Graham, 28, had the best season of his career in 2016. No question. But he finished the year with just 5 1/2 sacks. Despite being named a second-team All-Pro and a first alternate for the Pro Bowl, many people probably don't realize how disruptive he really was this past year, even if the sack numbers don't show it.
That's the point ProFootballFocus' Sam Monson makes this week.
"Brandon Graham doesn’t get the recognition he deserves as one of the league’s most consistent and dominant pass-rushers because people get too caught up with measuring pass rush by sacks alone," Monson writes.
In their list of the top 101 players from 2016, Graham was the highest-ranked Eagle, at No. 9.
Of course, PFF's stats support that idea. Graham produced a pressure 83 times in 2016. Only Defensive Player of the Year Khalil Mack had more. Graham got pressure once every 5.8 pass-rushing snaps, the second best number in the league.
While sacks are the goal, Graham's pressures often created opportunities for his teammates, resulting in a PBU or an interception. It's harder to quantify those things, though.
One of the more interesting stats from PFF is that Graham has converted his pressures into sacks at a 10.7 percent clip. That's well under the 15.1 percent average in the NFL this season. Graham himself has admitted that he needs to pick up sacks at a higher rate.
According to PFF, Graham's best game was that Week 16 matchup against the Giants. That's the game where he thought he should have brought down Manning but didn't have a sack.
If he starts finishing his pressures next season, he'll probably start to get the recognition he deserves.