What started as a one-sack season in 2011, in the regular-season finale against Carolina, ended in a three-sack game against the Eagles in 2022 and encompassed the kind of relentless pursuit that has been the hallmark of Cam Jordan’s career.
Game after game, season after season, Jordan has showed up and consistently played at one of the highest levels in NFL history for the New Orleans Saints, missing just two games in his career – one due to Covid protocols last season, and one due to a fractured orbital bone this year.
But because of the circumstances, collecting career sack No. 115.5 – a half-sack more than Pro Football Hall of Famer Rickey Jackson accumulated in his 12-year Saints career, which had stood as the franchise record since 1993 – the joy wasn't maximized.
"(I'll) take some time after the season (to reflect)," Jordan said. "It was great to accomplish a feat that I thought I wanted the last few years, but I want wins more. That's what I found out. I want playoffs more. I want the team to have success. I want all my guys to eat."
The Saints (7-9) won't be in the playoffs for the second consecutive season, after a four-year run of winning the NFC South Division title. Sunday's game against Carolina in the Caesars Superdome will be the season finale.
And watching the postseason leads to the what-if game for Jordan. The high-point of his three-sack game was that New Orleans was able to beat Philadelphia 20-10, but the Saints officially were eliminated from playoff contention hours later.
"We got a win," he said. "Sadly, we also got eliminated which sort of feels like the run of the Saints the last year or two. You can't ever let somebody else control your destiny, and that's on us from not beating Tampa the first or the second time, that's on us from losing to the Niners when we felt like we had control of the game."
Jordan was willing to rattle off a few notable sacks in his career, though.
"I've got a few favorites," he said. "My first sack ever was the 2011 season, against Cam Newton, because that's the first one. You need to get in the book somehow.
"There's been plenty of games that I enjoyed sacking (Atlanta's) Matt Ryan (whom Jordan sacked 23 times, an NFL record for one player against another). Before that, there was my first three-piece game against Michael Vick in Philadelphia (in 2012), not to be confused with Michael Vick in Atlanta – although he was still just as fast, is what I'm going to tell people.
"Matt Ryan four-sack game, Thanksgiving game (in 2019). I also had a serious cold, I call that one my 'flu' game. I was in dire straits on the sideline, go in, ball out, come back on the sideline and dire straits again.
"I've had some good ones along the way."
ED BLOCK: Quarterback Jameis Winston was named the team's Ed Block Courage Award for 2022, given annually to a player who has persevered through adversity. Winston's teammates voted him as the franchise's winner based on his work ethic and perseverance through several injuries from 2021-22. He tore his ACL in 2021, had reconstructive surgery and returned to the practice field for the start of OTAs in '22. He started the preseason finale on Aug. 27 and opened the season as the Saints' starter, engineering the biggest fourth-quarter comeback in franchise history in New Orleans' 27-26 victory over the Falcons on Sept. 11.