To say that Tampa Bay outside linebacker Shaq Barrett has performed well throughout his first four games with the Bucs would be a gross understatement. Barrett has in fact played tremendous football in his first year in red and pewter.
The sixth-year edge rusher’s production so far this season has not only endeared him to Bucs fans, but it’s also placed his name firmly in early conversations for the NFL Defensive Player of the Year.
Following his three-sack performance against the Carolina Panthers in Tampa Bay’s 20-14 win in Week 2, Barrett was named the NFC Defensive Player of the Week. He followed that showing up with a career-high four sacks and two forced fumbles in Week 3 against the New York Giants, and likely would have won the award again if not for a 32-31 defeat.
Barrett, who signed a one-year, $4 million contract with the Bucs in the offseason, continued his QB capture streak in a 55-40 win in Los Angeles on Sunday, and added his first career interception before coming up with a clutch strip-sack that would seal Tampa Bay’s victory over the Rams, as defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh scooped and scored in the game’s final minutes. That play helped the Bucs improve to 2-2 on the year.
Barrett’s eight sacks through three weeks tied an NFL record for the most sacks through a team’s first three games of the season. His ninth sack on Sunday also tied an NFL record for the most sacks through a team’s first four games of the season.
Barrett’s interception then made him the first player in NFL history to total at least eight sacks and an interception within a team’s first four games of the season.
Shaquil Barrett is the 1st player since sacks became official in 1982 to record at least 8 sacks and 1 Int in his team's 1st 4 games of a season. pic.twitter.com/EawjNf2n8D
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) September 29, 2019
In addition to making a run at his first Pro Bowl berth, Barrett is making the case to be the league’s most dominant defender in 2019, and will look to continue his historic play as the Buccaneerss fly to New Orleans for an NFC South division game against the Saints in Week 5.