Andre Branch put together a career day against the Indianapolis Colts, but it doesn’t redeem the lackluster defensive end’s career with the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Three sacks and 12 tackles.
No, those aren’t the numbers for Andre Branch against the Indianapolis Colts. Those are Andre Branch’s numbers after an entire season of work in 2014.
With lackluster production like that, it wasn’t shocking that the Jacksonville Jaguars went out and selected Dante Fowler Jr. to help fix the pass rush. Unfortunately, Fowler has missed the entire season and instead Branch has started seven games.
This week against the Indianapolis Colts, Branch managed to do the near-unimaginable and play a truly impressive game. He collected two sacks, four tackles, one tackle for a loss, and forced a fumble of quarterback Matt Hasselbeck which he returned for a touchdown.
Credit where credit is due, Branch had a hell of a game. He deserves every accolade thrown his way for it.
But that level of production is incredibly rare from Branch and was almost 50 percent of his production in any one season since being drafted in the second round of the 2012 NFL Draft. From 2012 through 2014, Branch averaged just 3.3 sacks per season, one fumble forced, and 17 tackles.
We should not overlook that mediocrity.
The guys over at Pro Football Focus didn’t either, even though they handed him a +3.1 grade for the week, with writer Matt Claasen saying, “[Andre Branch] had entered the game with 15 total pressures on 258 pass rush snaps.”
That is is total number of pressures (sacks, hits, and hurries) that PFF has measured for Branch, compared to seven he put up against the Colts.
The pass rush for the Jacksonville Jaguars has been downright miserable in 2015 and while I liked what I saw from Branch on Sunday, it is improbable that he will be able to reproduce that performance. I would love to be proven wrong, but his track record is not impressive.
Don’t read too much into this one, fellow fans. This is just a tease.