Quarterback Andy Dalton #14 of the Cincinnati Bengals is sacked by defensive end Chris Long #91 of the St. Louis Rams in the first half of the game on December 18, 2011 at the Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Whitney Curtis/Getty Images)
Voting for the NFL Pro Bowl closes tonight with the Monday Night Football game. In the hours between then and now, you need to take time to go and cast your ballot for St. Louis Rams defensive end Chris Long. He's one of several Rams that deserves a vote, but NFL fans of all stripes should be punching their ticket for Long's career season.
Long picked up his 13th sack of the season in yesterday's loss to the Bengals. Each new sack brings a new career-best mark for Long, whose best season before this one was 2010 when he had 8.5 sacks. With two games left to play, there's a good chance he adds to that total.
Long's 13 sacks are the fifth-most in the NFL so far this season. Jared Allen, a comparable player, is doing something similar to Long with the Vikings. He has 17.5 sacks. Eagles DE Justin Babin leads the league with 18 sacks.
The franchise record for sacks is 17, set by Kevin Carter in 1999. Long's 13 sacks tie him for the fourth-most in franchise history. Leonard Little has the third-most with 14.5 in 2001. Kevin Greene had 16.5 sacks twice in 1988 and 1989.
Long's 13 sacks matches a single-season high for his father Howie Long, an eight-time Pro Bowl player.
Finally, Long deserves a little recognition for being a bright spot in an otherwise forgettable year. His consistently high motor is matched by only a few players on the team, and the Rams defensive line has been a tough group since the halfway point of the season.
Others that deserve a vote: James Laurinaitis and Steven Jackson.