Want to win ten bucks in a bar bet against an NFL know-it-all? If you do, just give him this simple proposition:
You: “I’ll give you five chances to name the player who led the NFL in total tackles in Weeks 15 through 17 of the regular season.”
You: “Nope. Two guesses left.”
Know-It-All: “Pat Angerer?”
You (smirking knowingly): “Wrong again. The NFL leader in total tackles from Weeks 15-17 was Carolina’s Jordan Senn . Now hand over the ten bucks. I’m having a Taco Bell craving.”
That’s right, Jordan Senn of the Carolina Panthers led the NFL in total tackles over the last three weeks of the regular season. Using statistics taken from Pro-Football-Reference.com, the league leaders in total tackles (solo tackles plus assisted tackles) from Weeks 15-17 were:
1. Jordan Senn, CAR, 35 Total Tackles (26 Solo, 9 Ast)
2. Chad Greenway, MIN, 34 Total Tackles (14 Solo, 21 Ast)
3. E.J. Henderson, MIN, 33 Total Tackles (26 Solo, 7 Ast)
4. D’Qwell Jackson, CLE, 33 Total Tackles (25 Solo, 8 Ast)
5. London Fletcher, WAS, 32 Total Tackles (20 Solo, 12 Ast)
A Surprising Emergence
Jordan Senn’s late-season emergence was surprising to say the least. Senn was signed by Indianapolis as an undrafted free agent in 2008 and played sparingly for both the Colts and the Panthers, recording just 50 tackles in his first four NFL seasons. Jordan Senn’s 2011 season did not begin any better with just five tackles through the Panthers first nine games.
But as injuries wreaked havoc on the Panthers defensive unit, Jordan Senn was given his chance to play with increased playing time for the last six Panthers game. As Senn’s playing time increased, so did his performance.
During Carolina’s last six games of the 2011 season, Senn recorded a healthy 60 tackles, placing him among the tops in the NFL. Prior to his six-game, 60-tackle outburst, Jordan Senn had only recorded 61 tackles in 47 career games .
Dominating the Texans
The highlight of Jordan Senn’s career came in Week 15 against the Houston Texans. On the second play of the game Senn stripped Texans’ running back Arian Foster and the fumble was recovered by Carolina. Four plays later Steve Smith scored a touchdown for an early 7-0 Panthers lead.
In the second quarter the Texans had driven the ball into Carolina territory when QB T.J. Yates dropped back to pass on a 3rd-and-13. Jordan Senn red the pass and cut in front of intended receiver Kevin Walter to intercept the pass, returning it 21 yards to the Houston 48 and setting up the Panthers for a field goal. Carolina went on to beat playoff-bound Houston 28-13. The two turnovers caused by Jordan Senn and his career-high 14 tackles led Sports Illustrated’s Peter King to crown Senn his Defensive Player of the Week.
Despite his late-season 2011 performance, Jordan Senn will likely enter the 2012 season battling for playing time. If healthy, Jon Beason and Thomas Davis will see the bulk of the action, and deservedly so. Backup linebacker James Anderson was thrust into a starting role in 2011 due to the injuries to Beason and Davis and was stellar in stopping the run, recording a Panthers franchise record 145 tackles in 2011, but Anderson struggled in pass coverage throughout the year.
Assuming injuries will happen to the Panthers defense in 2012, which they always seem to do, Jordan Senn’s late-season performance clearly demonstrated the Panthers have a solid contributor on the depth chart. When needed, Jordan Senn proved this year that he can step up and deliver.
For Panthers fans like me, this is nothing short of Senn-sational.