Defensive Line All-Stars: A look back at Week 13's standout defenders
After another week full of sacks, stops, and stuffs, let's look at the standout defensive linemen from Week 13:
Defensive Lineman of the Week: DT David Onyemata, New Orleans Saints
Three different players recorded three sacks in Week 13, but while the Colts' Denico Autry and the Giants' B.J. Hill profited off the coverage behind them, Onyemata's trifecta of takedowns was of a much higher quality.
Though the Saints' offense laid an egg, the defense - led by Onyemata, who added four tackles, three quarterback hits, and a forced fumble - actually put together an admirable performance.
Here, Onyemata is lined up with an outside shade over Su'a-Filo. Once the ball is snapped, the defensive tackle places his first step on the inside edge of the left guard to influence Su'a-Filo to stay skinny with his set and draw out his hands. It works.
After his first step, Onyemata expands back to the outside edge of Su'a-Filo while perfectly executing a cross-chop-to-club move, keeping his feet and hands in coordination while knocking Su'a-Filo off-balance and leaving him unable to recover. From there, Onyemata gets his hips on track to the quarterback and finishes with the sack.
Onyemata blew past Su'a-Filo in two steps, which is an impressive feat for a 300-pound man.
His dominance did not stop when the Cowboys decided to run the ball, though, as there was no hiding from the Manitoba product:
On this play, Onyemata is once again aligned with an outside shade over Su'a-Filo. Once the ball is snapped, Onyemata comes out of his stance and engages the guard at the point of attack, as his quick hands allow him to latch onto Su'a-Filo's chest and attain proper hand positioning.
From there, Onyemata executes a bull-jerk, or push-pull move to beat the block and make the tackle at the line of scrimmage.
Onyemata is going to haunt his opposition's nightmares for a considerable time after this performance.
Pass Rush of the Week: DE Joey Bosa, Los Angeles Chargers
Bosa has been healthy for only three weeks but this is already his second appearance as a "Defensive Line All-Star."
On this play, Bosa has a wide outside alignment over Feiler. Once the ball is snapped, Bosa explodes out of his stance and pushes vertical, looking to stress Feiler's pass set. But Feiler was quicker out of his stance and beat Bosa to the intersection point, the spot between the defensive end's alignment and the apex of the quarterback's drop.
Still, Bosa feints as if he is going to use a rip move to shorten to the corner and bend toward the quarterback, attempting to get Feiler to react or lean outside, which is exactly what happens. This opens the space necessary for Bosa's counter-spin.
Bosa's counter-spin is hit fluidly with little wasted motion, allowing him to maintain his momentum and balance through the move so he can continue pursuing the quarterback and finish with a sack.
Run Defender of the Week: DL Kenny Clark, Green Bay Packers
Finishing with seven tackles, six stops, and a pass breakup, Clark used his active hands and raw power to consistently reset the line of scrimmage and make plays in the run game. Here's an excellent example:
On this play, Clark is aligned as a 0-technique, head-up over center Mason Cole. Once the ball is snapped, Clark explodes out of his stance and initiates contact with inside hand placement, allowing him to control the action at the point of attack.
From there, Clark resets the line of scrimmage by creating knockback with his initial strike. He then finds the running back, sheds the block, and makes the tackle at the line of scrimmage.
The Packers' season is bleak, but Clark's future is bright, as he's developed into arguably the best defensive lineman on the roster - which is saying something, because Mike Daniels is outstanding.
Not only has Clark taken the next step in his pass-rush development (career-high six sacks this season), but he's become a dominant run defender, which he showcased repeatedly against the Cardinals.
In the Spotlight: DL B.J. Hill, New York Giants
Hill surprised just about everyone with three sacks against the Bears.
That's not to say he's a bad player - he's not - but rather, he had just two NFL sacks coming into the game. In fact, he had more than three sacks in an entire season only once in his college career - his sophomore year at North Carolina State in which he had 3.5 sacks.
Hill was certainly aided by New York's coverage on the back end of his third sack and was essentially unblocked on his first. His second sack, however, was all about skill:
Here, Hill is aligned across from Chicago right guard Bryan Witzmann. Once the ball is snapped, Hill comes out of his stance and takes a short initial step toward Witzmann's outside edge, forcing his momentum outside and leaving him susceptible to an inside move.
Hill executes a club move to beat Witzmann's hands. Hill's sloppy footwork - he doesn't gain enough ground with his third step - almost gives the right guard time to recover, but the lineman is able to bully his way through the contact for the sack.
While Hill's performance Sunday was impressive, it's likely an aberration in terms of his career. Nevertheless, it does highlight the fact he's had a successful rookie season and will be needed to help mitigate the loss of Damon Harrison.
John Owning is a football writer at theScore. He has written for Bleacher Report and Football Insiders. He was also the lead NFL content editor at FanRag Sports. John provides analysis on the Dallas Cowboys for the Dallas Morning News and edits for The Quant Edge. Find him on Twitter @JohnOwning.
- Report: Packers, Rodgers nearing deal that could set up QB's exit after 2021
- Report: Texans open to offers for Watson
- Redrafting the entire NFL: Mahomes goes 1st. What happens next?
- Colts' Reich to miss start of camp after testing positive for COVID-19
- 2 women with new allegations among 10 filing police complaints against Watson