It's taken a few weeks for NY Jets defensive end Carl Lawson to find his groove, but after a dominant, record-setting Week 5 performance, it's safe to say that Lawson is officially back.
Lawson finished the game with an unbelievable seven QB hits — the most by any Jets player in a game since QB hits became an official stat in 2000. In fact, no other Jets player had ever even registered six in a game.
Seven QB hits aren't just uncommon for the Jets, it's one of the rarer feats in the entire NFL. Since 2000, only 14 other players have finished a game with seven or more QB hits. Lawson joined that illustrious group on Sunday.
The former Cincinnati Bengals pass rusher also recorded a crucial strip-sack of Miami Dolphins quarterback Skylar Thompson that was recovered by Quinnen Williams.
That strip-sack ultimately proved to be the death knell as the Jets would punch it into the end zone to take a commanding 33-17 lead just one play later.
The NY Jets are finally seeing prime Carl Lawson again
This is the version of Carl Lawson the Jets thought they were going to see when they signed him to a hefty three-year, $45 million contract two offseasons ago. And it's the Carl Lawson we saw throughout his first summer with the team.
Unfortunately, a torn Achilles wiped away his first season in New York. Since returning, Lawson has been doing his best to shake off the rust from an injury that is infamously difficult to return from.
It's taken him a few weeks, but Lawson is taking over once again. Lawson's 14 QB hits rank second in the NFL behind only Nick Bosa. His 84.7 Pro Football Focus pass-rush grade ranks eighth among qualified edge rushers. His 23.5% win rate ranks third among edge rushers, per PFF.
This is the Carl Lawson we saw in 2020. An elite pass-rushing force who impacts games and dominates opposing tackles on a weekly basis.
It's been a long road to recovery for Lawson, but he's finally being rewarded for his efforts. Carl Lawson is back and the Jets' pass rush might be too.