Dallas Cowboys linebacker Sean Lee wasn’t going to boast about setting a franchise-record with 22 tackles against the New York Giants.
Instead, Lee felt he could have done even more in a 10-7 loss.
“For me, when I watch the film, there are plays I left out on the field where I can improve,” Lee said. “For me, it’s staying healthy, continuing to improve and making sure down the stretch in the playoffs I’m ready to go and play my best football. That’s my main concern.”
The Cowboys’ coaches credited Lee with the 22 tackles, as they are an unofficial statistic. It broke the previous record of 21 shared by Lee (2012 vs. Seattle, 2013 vs. San Diego) and Ring of Honor member Lee Roy Jordan (1971 vs. Philadelphia).
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There’s no question that Lee was all over the field against the Giants.
Tampa Bay coach Dirk Koetter said jokingly that he felt Lee had even more tackles when he watched the game film in preparation for Sunday night’s matchup between the Cowboys and Buccaneers.
“When I charted it, I thought he had 37 tackles,” Koetter said, laughing. “That’s all we could see was him making every play. You can really just see his savvy, his awareness on top of the fact that he’s a really good football player. It jumps out at you on tape.”
Cowboys defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli called Lee’s performance “off the charts.”
“But I’ll say this, his season has been off the charts,” Marinelli said. “There’s not a guy, in my opinion, playing defense right now on any team playing at that level. What you’re asking him to do? He’s off the charts.
“Never comes off the field. He plays the pass. He can blitz. He can play the run inside, play the run outside. He can cover man-to-man. I mean, he runs the defense. He runs the whole thing.”
Lee has been credited with a team-high 156 tackles on the season, and has played every defensive snap. There had been some confusion whether Lee had missed one play, but the Cowboys’ public relations staff deduced on Friday that he has been in every snap.
Lee, in his sixth season, is three games from playing his first full, 16-game season.
“I’m always wanting to be out there every down,” said Lee, who is a strong candidate to earn All-Pro honors for the first time this season.
Lee has been limited in practice this week with a bothersome knee, but that is not expected to keep him out.
“I’m feeling good,” Lee said. “I’m ready to go.”