Looks like the San Francisco 49ers had a pretty good draft in 2011.
Second-round pick Colin Kaepernick made his first NFL start Monday night in place of Alex Smith, wowing the football world with a brilliant debut against the mighty Chicago Bears defense. The 49ers destroyed the Bears, 32-7.
Outside linebacker Aldon Smith, meanwhile, showed why the team made him the No. 7 overall pick in last year's draft.
He racked up 5.5 sacks against Chicago's porous offense line, which is dead last protecting the passer, according to the CHFF Offensive Hog Index.
Along the way, Smith joined the very short list of defenders to rack up more than 5.0 sacks in a single NFL game. In fact, it's a list of just six performances and five players, with the great Derrick Thomas on the list twice.
Most Sacks, One Game
1. Derrick Thomas, Kansas City, 7.0 sacks (1990 vs. Seattle)
2t. Fred Dean, San Francisco, 6.0 sacks (1983 vs. New Orleans)
2t. Derrick Thomas, San Francisco, 6.0 sacks (1998 vs. Oakland)
2t. Osi Umenyiora, N.Y. Giants, 6.0 sacks (2007 vs. Philadelphia)
5t. Aldon Smith, San Francisco, 5.5 sacks (2012 vs. Chicago)
5t. William Gay, Detroit, 5.5 sacks (1983 at Tampa Bay)
Smith is quickly shaping up as the great pass-rusher of his era. He racked up 14.0 sacks in his rookie season of 2011, and entered the Bears game with 9.5, boosting that total to 15.0 sacks through 10 games.
That's 29 career sacks in 26 career games, for those of you keeping score at home. At this rate, he is likely to surpass Reggie White for the most sacks in a players' first two seasons. Here's the Top 5
Most Sacks, First Two Seasons
1. Reggie White (1985-86), 31.0
2. Derrick Thomas (1989-90), 30.0
3. Aldon Smith (2011-12), 29.0
4. Shawne Merriman (2005-06), 27.0
5. Javon Kearse (1999-2000), 26.0
6. Von Miller (2011-12), 24.5
Not for nothing, but CHFF protected Smith would be the NFL's Defensive Player of the Year in Kerry's 2012 pre-season predictions at SI.com. Right now, that's looking like a pretty good selection: Smith is the biggest playmaker on the NFL's best defense (13.4 PPG).
Note: sack record lists come from the Play Index at ProFootballReference.com