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New Orleans Saints 2018 season recap: Sheldon Rankins

New Orleans Saints defensive tackle Sheldon Rankins nearly doubled his productivity on the field to a career-best season of 40 tackles, eight sacks, one forced fumble, and 15 quarterback hits in 2018. During the Jan. 13 divisional playoff game against the Philadelphia Eagles, Rankins suffered a serious lower leg injury in the first eight minutes, ending his season. “The season he has been having. It’s gut-wrenching,” Saints Coach Sean Payton said following the Saints victory. “He’s played so well for us.”

BEST GAME: Week 8 when the Saints traveled to Minnesota to take on the Vikings; the first meeting between the teams since the Minneapolis Miracle which took the Saints out of the playoffs in the 2017 season. The 6-foot-2, 305-pound Louisville product finished with two sacks and two tackles. This was the first game Rankins had more than one sack in his NFL career.

BEST QUOTE(S):

“Man, I still can’t believe that actually happened," Rankins said on coming up with a forced fumble to seal a win over the Steelers on Dec. 23. "But it’s something we work on, it’s something we practice, so to be able to do it in practice, come here and do it in a game in a moment where we needed that play. Pretty much clinched the game for us, it’s amazing, I’ll always remember that one.”

“That’s my guy. When you talk about everything that he put together this season, the growth that he showed this season, it’s hard to replace him." - Cameron Jordan on replacing Rankins in the NFC championship game.

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