Shaquil Barrett surpassed a Tampa Bay Buccaneers legend on Sunday. He is rapidly becoming one himself.
Barrett's second-quarter takedown of Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan gave him 17.5 on the season, a new Buccaneers single-season record. Barrett broke a record that had stood for nearly two decades, since Warren Sapp posted a career-high 16.5 sacks in 2000. Sapp is now enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame and was the 1999 NFL Defensive Player of the Year.
Barrett is in contention to be the fourth Buccaneer to win that award, following Sapp, Derrick Brooks in 2002 and Lee Roy Selmon in 1979. Barrett came into the Week 17 slate of games second in the NFL with 16.5 sacks, 2.5 behind the 19.0 posted by Arizona's Chandler Jones. UPDATE: Barrett recorded two more sacks and will finish the season with the league's sack lead at 19.5. He is the first Buccaneer ever to lead the NFL in that category.
This is second straight season that a long-standing and prominent Buccaneers' single-season standard has fallen. Last year, Mike Evans recorded 1,524 receiving yards to break the team record of 1,422 set by Mark Carrier in 1989. Barrett's record-breaking campaign comes in his first season as a Buccaneer. He and Oakland tackle Trent Brown are the only two players who signed with new teams as unrestricted free agents this past spring and then earned their first Pro Bowl selections.