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WINS ARE KEY NUMBER

Posted Nov 29, 2012

Dwight Freeney has had a year of challenge, but it is one that holds a chance to appear in a ninth post-season. Freeney has seen individual numbers shrink, but victories grow. Sometimes both numbers have flourished, but he likes winning.

INDIANAPOLIS – Dwight Freeney has had a career marked by numbers.

 

Freeney is one of 14 Colts to appear in 100 or more regular-season victories, with his 108 tying for ninth-most. 

 

He is one of 29 NFL players ever to top 100 career sacks.

 

Freeney has forced 44 career fumbles, had 25 multiple-sack games, and he has sacked 52 quarterbacks.

 

He has played in nine seasons when the club won at least 10 games.  He was there when Indianapolis won 12-plus games in league-record eight straight years.

 

He has played on seven division-winners, two conference champions and one world champion.

 

Seven times his sack total and the team’s victory total reached double figures together.  A Super Bowl title season marked his lowest full-season sack total.

 

Freeney also started 15 games in 2011 when the Colts lost 14 times.

 

This year sees Freeney overcoming an ankle injury that forced him to miss two games and hobble while re-gaining his form.  His sack total is at two, but the team has won seven games.  He hopes to increase both totals but after 2011, one total is more important.

 

“It is what it is.  Those (sack) numbers come when they come,” said Freeney.  “Some years they’re going to be there.  Sometimes they come in bunches.  As long as we’re winning games and changing what the (opposing) offense does (it’s good).”

 

The Colts went to a 3-4 approach this year, a learning process for everyone, but an attack that produces results.  Through a load of injuries, the defense is almost at its healthiest for a December run to possibly reach the playoffs.

 

Teams are attacking the club differently.  Freeney and Robert Mathis have had fewer games together because of health issues, but Freeney says teams are much more expedient in getting rid of the ball to avoid the duo and their unit.

 

“Sometimes numbers lie, in a way.  The passing routes, they’re going to be short and condensed,” said Freeney.  “If they’re a team that holds onto the ball for longer than three or four seconds, now, they can’t do that.  They’re going to get rid of the ball in three seconds. 

 

“That means those routes are quicker.  Sometimes, I would love to get those sacks, but I have to (derive satisfaction) in other ways.  Being in ‘Year 11,’ I have numbers.  I’ve had numbers in my career,” said Freeney.  “The year we won the Super Bowl (2006), was probably the lowest number of sacks (5.5) I’ve had without being injured, and we won the Super Bowl (laughs).”

 

Interim coach Bruce Arians maintains Freeney is his usual disruptive self, though it always does not show in sacks.  Many times, his presence influences opposing offenses dramatically and teammates reap the reward.

 

That, too, is fine with Freeney.  If numbers come, they come.  If not, he knows those who understand the game know his impact.

 

“I think people who turn on the film and who are students of the game know it’s not always about the numbers,” said Freeney.  “Numbers are great.  If someone put a stopwatch on opposing pass attempts and see how quickly the ball is out, they would see compared to others team where the hold the ball longer.  Those who know, know.”

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