MIAMI - In the first six years of his career, defensive end Jason Babin created 17 1/2 sacks. In just 13 games this year, he has 15, including three on Sunday as part of a ferocious Eagles pass rush that recorded nine sacks and knocked Dolphins quarterback Matt Moore out of the game with what the team said was a head injury.
His 15 sacks this year are already one of the best single-season totals in Eagles history and are the most since Hugh Douglas had that many in 2000. He's tied for seventh in team history for most in a year, along with Douglas and Reggie White.
Next up on the single-season list is Clyde Simmons, who had 151/2 in 1989. White holds the single-season Eagles record with 21 sacks in 1987.
Babin brushed off questions about his individual numbers.
"You know when you're sacked, that's usually a drive killer," he said. "If that helps the Eagles win, then I'm happy to do it."
His three sacks, tied for a career high, certainly did that Sunday, particularly one midway through the second quarter when momentum threatened to swing back to the Dolphins. The Eagles, who had rallied to take a 17-7 lead, gave up the ball on their own 24 with a blown throwback pass on a punt return.
The defense hustled back onto the field, and on the first snap, Babin hit Moore and jarred the ball loose. The Eagles recovered and quickly scored to take a commanding, 24-7 lead.
"Worst case, we're going to hold them to three," was the defense's thought when it returned to the field, Babin said. "We got the turnover and held them to zero."
For Babin, the last two seasons have changed his place in the NFL from first-round disappointment and role player to standout pass rusher. Working with Eagles defensive line coach Jim Washburn in Tennessee last year, at his fifth stop in the league, he had 121/2 sacks before exploding for even more in 2011.
"Some of those people that weren't believers before and then were still on the fence, I think they're on my side now. So there's no reason to talk bad about them," Babin said. "They know who they are."
Babin, 31, has finally been set loose. He was asked if he wished it had happened sooner.
"I think about that sometimes, but then I think about all of the things I had to go through and how I used that in my offseason workouts and my practice and that chip on my shoulder and that nastiness, and it kind of made me who I am today," Babin said. "I wouldn't take any of it back."