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After Historic Day, Haason Reddick A Far Cry From Former Self

Cardinals linebacker racks up five sacks, three forced fumbles against the Giants

OLB Haason Reddick set a franchise-record with five sacks against the Giants.
OLB Haason Reddick set a franchise-record with five sacks against the Giants.

Haason Reddick knelt at the Cardinals' bench following Sunday's win over the Giants, tears streaming down his face.

When he stood up and walked toward the MetLife Stadium field, it seemed only right that Steve Keim was there to give him a hug.

The first-round pick and the general manager who chose him were criticized heavily for the first three years of Reddick's career, after he failed to pan out as an inside linebacker. But a move to outside linebacker has not only rejuvenated Reddick's career – it has put him in in the Cardinals' record books.

The New Jersey native had the game of his life in the 26-7 victory over the Giants, registering a franchise-record five sacks and three forced fumbles. Reddick became the first player since Green Bay's Vonnie Holliday in 2002 to post such a ridiculous stat line.

"I'm still processing it, still taking it in," Reddick said. "I cried at the end of the game, filled with joy. I felt blessed. This whole year has been important to me, and to see things going the way I wanted them to go, to see today happen, it's just amazing."

Reddick had an early strip-sack and then single-handedly wrecked any hopes of a New York comeback by accumulating four sacks in the fourth quarter.

Coach Kliff Kingsbury was not around for the first two years of Reddick's NFL career but never saw the angst overwhelm him last season when it was clear inside linebacker was not going to work out.

"When a guy like that -- who's stuck with it, who didn't let the noise get him down, didn't let any sort of frustration get him down, he just kept working -- has a game like that, you couldn't be happier for him," Kingsbury said.

After five sacks in the first seven weeks of the season, Reddick did not register a sack or a quarterback hit in the five games leading up to this one. However, he arrived at the Dignity Health Training Center this week and told teammate Markus Golden a breakout against the Giants was upcoming.

"The look he had in his eyes rushing all week, I knew he was going to have a big one," Golden said. "I ain't know it was going to be that big."

Reddick led the charge, but he wasn't the only outside linebacker to make an impact.

Dennis Gardeck continued his obscene sack-to-snaps ratio with two more in limited playing time, pushing his total to five on the season, and added a fumble recovery.

Golden had a first-quarter strip-sack and fumble recovery against a Giants team that traded him to the Cardinals earlier this year. Even though the offense failed to capitalize, it was a sign of things to come.

"It really set the tone early, that they were going to be there all day," Kingsbury said.

Jones was 11-of-21 for 127 yards and was sacked six times. Colt McCoy came in late and finished 2-of-3 for 18 yards and was sacked twice, both by Reddick. The Cardinals finished with eight sacks, only the second time in five years they registered that many in a game.

The first time was against the Giants last season, when Chandler Jones led the way with four. Even without him on the field in this matchup, the pass-rush didn't miss a beat.

"We wanted to come out and get some takeaways this week," Golden said. "I was able to get it started quick, and all the guys finished it off. Everybody got it going today."

Reddick is now up to 10 sacks in the season, among the league's elite sack artists.

Vance Joseph made the decision late last season to end Reddick's time at inside linebacker. The Cardinals' defensive coordinator admitted at the time that it was no guarantee Reddick would succeed on the edge, but given the chance, he has blossomed.

The two shared a moment in the locker room after the game, where Joseph told Reddick he was proud of him.

"Thanks to him, it's been a good day and a good year," Reddick said.