San Francisco 49ers defensive end Arik Armstead rubs his stomach after he sacks the quarterback.
Armstead’s belly has been getting a workout this season. The former Oregon Ducks’ star has posted a career-high 10 sacks during what is shaping up as a career year. Armstead posted two sacks during the 49ers’ 37-8 win over the Green Bay Packers last Sunday.
Armstead, in the final year of his contract, is producing his breakout year at the right time. He is going to get paid during the offseason, whether he re-signs with the 49ers or joins with another team.
“He’s playing All-Pro football week in and week out,” 49ers cornerback Richard Sherman said. “He has 10 sacks in a contract year, the Brinks truck is going to back up for him. Beep. Beep.”
Armstead, the 49ers’ first-round pick (No. 17) in the 2015 NFL draft, has posted more sacks in 2019 than he had in his previous four seasons combined (nine). He leads the relentless 49ers’ pass rush in sacks and the team has posted a league-leading 44 sacks this season in 11 games. The 49ers had 38 sacks during the entire 2018 season.
“Going against Arik in training camp and OTAs — even in our first year — he’s a guy I hated going against as an offensive coach. He’s very hard to block in the run and pass game,” 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan said. “He’s had some unfortunate injuries. This year, he’s been able to stay healthy and play in every game. Just the way we’ve changed up our D-line, our style of play … it’s benefitted probably him the most just in terms of never having to read and react. Just being aggressive every play and going right at the quarterback … allowing him to be decisive. The rest has been him.”
Armstead posted his first sack of Packers’ quarterback Aaron Rodgers when he looped around backup tackle Alex Light and buried Rodgers in the second quarter, leading to his first belly rub of the night.
Armstead teamed up with former Ducks’ teammate DeForest Buckner to sack Rodgers in the third quarter and another with safety Jaquski Tartt in the fourth quarter.
“It was a dominant performance in a big-time game. It was a lot of fun,” Armstead said. “We pride ourselves on that — stopping the run and getting after the passer. Any time that we can do that, I think that we will have a good chance at winning the game.”
If Armstead continues to produce, he’ll have a strong chance to earn a selection to the Pro Bowl. Which will drive up his value even more.