MINNEAPOLIS -- Everson Griffen became part of an elite club in the Vikings’ 33-16 win over the Browns in London after he sacked quarterback DeShone Kizer for a 10-yard loss with 2:56 to play in the game.
Griffen became the third player in NFL history to start a season with at least one sack in eight straight games, joining Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis.
Griffen also tied the longest streak of games with at least one sack in Vikings history, set by both Jim Marshall and Jared Allen. Griffen now has 10 sacks heading into Minnesota’s bye week.
On the play, safety Harrison Smith found a hole on the left side of the offensive line on a blitz and made contact with Kizer by hitting his non-throwing arm. Griffen used his speed and a rip move to get past left tackle Spencer Drango and wrap up the quarterback from behind.
“It just shows my hard work,” Griffen said. “I’ve been working hard, but like I always say, I can’t do it without my defensive line. It’s not me only back there getting a sack; it’s when I get a sack, everybody’s working together. Coach Andre Patterson, best D-line coach in the NFL, he always says we get team sacks. We work together, and that was everybody working together, rushing together. Harrison should have had him, but by the grace of God he let him go, and I got him.”
Kizer was sacked three times for a loss of 18 yards, all coming in the fourth quarter. Before Griffen got his, noseguard Linval Joseph and defensive tackle Tom Johnson brought down the rookie in the backfield.
“This is the best team I’ve ever been a part of, from top to bottom,” Griffen said.
The added attention on the Pro Bowler has afforded opportunities for others on the defensive line.
“When they do chip me more, we have guys -- Danielle Hunter, Tom, B-Rob [Brian Robison], Linval -- to make plays, too. No matter how many guys they put over there, it doesn’t matter,” he said. “I’m worried about being in my right gap, helping this team win and executing my assignment to be able to get to where we want to go, and that’s to the top.”
The defensive end was robbed of his chance to match up with Joe Thomas after the veteran left tackle suffered a torn triceps last week. In his place, Drango, a second-year pro, fought to contain the defensive end.
“The quarterback was sitting shallow in the pocket,” Griffen said. “I was using my stab-and-go to get off and come downhill. [Drango] was giving me extra pushes after I beat him around the corner. He played well, he had a good game plan going up against me. I saw him sitting light, so he was worried about my spin move the whole game, then I hit him with my spin at the very end.”
Upon conclusion of the game, NFL Network’s cameras showed Griffen sitting on the ground after appearing to have been injured on the final play. The defensive end was shown taking his shoe and sock off but later walked off the field under his own power.
“Everything’s good,” Griffen told London media after the game. “We good.”