Nov 8, 2015; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Indianapolis Colts linebacker Robert Mathis (98) motions for the crowd to make some noise during a game against the Denver Broncos at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports
Right Defensive End: Robert Mathis (2003-present)
The all-time leader in sacks, but really only because he has been with the team longer now. That said, Mathis had a special 2013 season when he racked up 19.5 sacks while still adjusting to a new position. Not every player is able to transition from defensive end to outside linebacker, but Mathis did and in 2013 it earned him only All-Pro nomination.
Mathis holds the franchise record with 115 sacks, not much higher than Freeney. While the latter was the more consistent of the two, Mathis has proven to be much more versatile with his ability to play run support and coverage at outside linebacker. Even after 10 surgeries to repair a torn Achilles, Mathis managed to return to the team and show he still has value in the NFL.
Mathis was the other half of a pass rush duo that terrorized opposing offenses for nearly a decade. Mathis and Freeney were tough to block one-on-one, making it a catch-22 on who should be double teamed on any given play. Most teams resorted to quick dump off passes, essentially taking away big plays from offensive game plans. While little research has been done on the matter, the two players are likely responsible for nearly as many game sealing plays as Manning had game winning drives.
Mathis is a great player in his own right, but will always be tied with Freeney in the hearts of Colts fans as one of the most prolific pass rush duos in NFL history. As Colts, the pair racked up 222.5 sacks over a combined 24 years. Staggering numbers.
Next: Outside Linebacker