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Trey Hendrickson out to lead NFL in sacks: No one 'in a race wants to take third'

Tuesday seems like a good day for an eye-opening stat, so here's one for you: Trey Hendrickson has more sacks through eight games than he did in his entire career prior to 2020.

Hendrickson's 7.5 sacks currently rank third in the NFL behind Myles Garrett and Aaron Donald, who are tied for first with nine. Hendrickson previously had 6.5 sacks to his name from 2017-2019.

His big night came Sunday, when Hendrickson sacked Tom Brady on two consecutive plays late in the third quarter of the most dominant performance from any team in the NFL this season. Hendrickson celebrated each by running from the scene of the crime with his hand raised in the air, almost as if he'd won the Super Bowl.

It was not the Super Bowl, but a Week 9 statement victory that introduced Hendrickson and the rest of the New Orleans defense (including the effective Marcus Davenport) to the rest of the NFL.

"The work's not done," Hendrickson said of his career-best start, via the Times-Picayune's Rod Walker. "We're only eight games in. I'm hungry. I don't think anybody in a race wants to take third."

Coincidentally, this took place in Tampa, site of February's Super Bowl LV. New Orleans earned the tiebreaker with Tampa Bay by virtue of its 2-0 regular-season sweep of the Buccaneers, meaning if these two teams were to meet in the playoffs -- provided the Saints maintain their slim lead in the NFC South -- the Bucs would have to come to New Orleans.

The road leads to Tampa, though, which is the envisioned destination of the Saints, and of Hendrickson, who is out to dominate his opponent like he did Donovan Smith in the aforementioned sequence Sunday night.

"One of the things we've been talking about is winning your one-on-ones," Hendrickson said. "I just wanted it more."

We'll see who wants the sack lead more in the weeks ahead. Hendrickson, who currently ranks in the top 20 in disruptions (but trails Garrett and Donald by 12-plus disruptions, per Next Gen Stats) feels pretty confident in his chances.

"Just getting after the quarterback, this is something that I was born to do," he said.

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