Dwight Freeney knew he needed to make a play. After all, while his Cardinals were beating the Vikings 23-20 in the waning seconds of Week 14's Thursday Night Football game, Minnesota was driving and well within field goal range.
So Freeney pulled out his patented spin move not once, not twice, but three times, finally getting around Vikings left tackle Matt Kalil. He hit Teddy Bridgewater's arm, the ball came loose, and Freeney's teammate Calais Campbell recovered the ball.
The Cardinals got the win, and Freeney got a chunk of change–since it was his fourth sack of the season, a performance-based bonus worth $200,000 kicked in. And if Freeney, who leads the team in sacks, gets any more the rest of the year, he'll earn an additional $100,000 every time he does so, up to $1 million total.
Not a bad deal for the 35-year-old defensive end, who has 115.5 sacks in his career. Freeney signed a one-year deal with the Cardinals this offseason for $970,000. Tack on a bonus of more than 20% for the sack, and you can easily say this was Freeney's best game of the year.
His teammates appreciated it, too. The win clinched a playoff spot for the Cardinals. If Seattle loses to Baltimore on Sunday, Arizona will lock up the division, too. For a team with Super Bowl aspirations, Freeney's experience is incredibly valuable. As a member of the Colts, he's made it to two, winning one during the 2006 season.
Freeney may not record any more sacks over the final three games of the season, but you can bet he'll be doing his best Tasmanian Devil impersonation all the way.