The National Football League today announced that Tampa Bay Buccaneers outside linebacker Shaquil Barrett has been named NFC Defensive Player of the Month for the month of September.
In September, Barrett led the NFL with 9.0 sacks – tied for the most sacks by an NFL player through a team's first four games since sacks became an official statistic in 1982 (Mark Gastineau, 1984; Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila, 2001; Kevin Greene, 1998). He is the only one out of the four to have also recorded an interception in that span. Barrett is tied for the third-most sacks in any month in NFL history, trailing only Hall of Famers Chris Doleman (9.5 in November, 1987) and Michael Strahan (9.5 in October, 2001). In addition, he tied for third in the league with three forced fumbles, which are the most by a Buccaneers player through four games, since Barrett Ruud in 2007.
He finished the month of September with 20 tackles (seven for loss), 10 quarterback hits, 9.0 sacks, three forced fumbles, two passes defensed and one interception, while starting all four games. The sixth-year veteran led the NFL with his 10 quarterback hits and seven tackles for loss and tied for third with his three forced fumbles in September.
Barrett joins a list of four Buccaneers to win the monthly defensive award, including Hall of Famers Derrick Brooks (Nov. 2000, Oct. 2002) and Warren Sapp (Sept. 1997, Sept. 1999), as well as Simeon Rice (Dec. 2001, Nov. 2002) and Barrett Ruud (Sept. 2007).
Against the Carolina Panthers in Week 2, Barrett recorded a then career-best three sacks and four quarterback hits in a 20-14 win for Tampa Bay, earning NFC Defensive Player of the Week honors. The Colorado State product became the first Buccaneers player to record three-or-more sacks in a game since Jacquies Smith at New Orleans on September 20, 2015. Barrett notched all three of his sacks during the third quarter, becoming one of just 11 players to accomplish that feat since he entered the league in 2014. He joined Rice (first quarter at New Orleans on 12/1/02) as the only Buccaneers players since at least 1991 to collect three-plus sacks in a single quarter.
Barrett followed that with a four-sack performance in Week 3 against the New York Giants, adding a pair of forced fumbles to establish a new career high, while also matching the single-game franchise record for both sacks and forced fumbles. Barrett was the first player in the NFL with four sacks and two forced fumbles in a game since Atlanta's Adrian Clayborn on November 12, 2017.
In the Buccaneers final game of September, a 55-40 win at the Los Angeles Rams, Barrett played a role in three of the team's four takeaways. He pressured the quarterback to disrupt a pass that was intercepted by safety Jordan Whitehead, hauled in his first career interception and forced a fumble that was recovered by Ndamukong Suh and returned for a game-clinching touchdown.
Barrett is Tampa Bay's first NFC Player of the Month winner since linebacker Dekoda Watson won NFC Special Teams Player of the Month in November of 2012. He is the first Buccaneers player to win Defensive Player of the Month honors since LB Barrett Ruud won it in September of 2007.