Sam Howell is taking sacks at a historic rate

Leaders quarterback Sam Howell is taking sacks at a rate that would obliterate an NFL record — in the unlikely event that he lasts 17 games in which he is sacked the way he did over the first three.

Howell has been sacked an NFL-high 19 times this season, or 6.3 times per game. Over the course of a 17-game season, that would amount to an absurd 108 sacks. The NFL record for most sacks in a single season is 76, set by David Carr with the expansion Texans in 2002.

Howell also loses as much yardage on sacks as any other quarterback. Through three games, Howell has given up 124 yards on sacks. That would total 703 yards on sacks in a 17-game season. The NFL record for yards lost on sacks in a single season is 489, set by Randall Cunningham with the Eagles in 1986.

After Howell was sacked nine times in Sunday’s 37-3 loss to the Bills, there were some questions about whether coach Ron Rivera should have taken Howell out of the game. Rivera said he thinks it would be good for Howell to learn from playing in tough games like this.

We want to see him deal with this. “We want to see him do the things he can do,” Rivera said. “There’s a certain point where maybe protecting him is the next step. . . . He’s young, he’s got to play, and that’s what it’s really about, he’s learning, growing and improving.

Howell has to learn how to avoid pressure better, or he’ll break the single-season record or get hurt before he can.

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