THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. – It's been a career year for Rams outside linebacker Dante Fowler Jr.
Not only has the former Florida star set a new personal best for sacks in a single game, he has also set a new career high for sacks in a single season with nine after finishing with 1.5 in Los Angeles' 28-12 win over Seattle on Sunday.
"It means a lot, being able to accomplish something bigger than I did," Fowler said Monday. "Especially with the last time I did it, I was coming off the bench. Me being a full-time starter and reaching that milestone makes me feel more confident in myself."
Fowler's previous career high for sacks in a season was eight in his second NFL season in 2017. He played in all 16 regular season games that year, though as he said, the feat was achieved in a reserve capacity. He credited working with Rams outside linebackers coach Chris Shula, defensive line coach Eric Henderson, linebacker Clay Matthews and defensive tackle Aaron Donald as being instrumental to the success he's experienced this year as they all helped him polish up his technique.
"I probably wouldn't be able to do it if it wasn't for them," Fowler said.
Fowler's first sack of Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson came with 30 seconds left in the first half, resulting in a five-yard loss that caused Seattle to run out the rest of the clock before intermission. He was credited for the half-sack when he combined with Donald to take down Wilson for a 9-yard loss late in the fourth quarter.
The performance comes seven weeks after he registered a career-high 3.0 sacks in the Rams' 37-10 win over the Falcons in Atlanta.
"I keep mentioning it, but I think Chris Shula's done a great job with that outside linebacker group as a whole," Rams head coach Sean McVay said. "But, Dante, you could just see – he's always had the traits, the physicality, the explosiveness. You could see when he arrives on contact, you feel Dante's presence when you're just watching a game because of how explosive he is. I thought he did a great job of making some timely plays for us. He's really done that throughout his season. I think that's why you see with three games remaining, he's had his best numbers to date."
And while it has been Fowler's pass rushing abilities that have garnered arguably the most praise this season, McVay said it isn't just that area that has made him effective this season.
"He's making plays in the run game, he came underneath on a 'TE' stunt that we had and make a big play on one of their runs," McVay said.
Fowler is just glad he's had the opportunities to display what he knew he was capable of doing and proving that he could be consistent.
"I keep telling myself that I was able to do it and I'm glad that I was able to show you guys that I could do it and be consistent," Fowler said.
For McVay, it's no coincidence that Fowler is producing at a high level.
"He's doing a really nice job and I've been really happy for Dante," McVay said.