A recap of the day’s activities at Virginia Mason Athletic Center for Oct. 8:
Bruce Irvin. Skeptics scoffed when the Seahawks “reached” to select the pass-rush specialist with the No. 15 pick in April’s NFL Draft.
Where are they now? Irvin collected two sacks in Sunday’s defense-dominated 16-12 victory over the Panthers in Carolina, despite playing limited snaps, and now has 4.5 in five games to lead all rookies.
Sunday, it wasn’t just that Irvin had two sacks, but when he got them. The second came with less than a minute to play and forced QB Cam Newton to fumble. Defensive tackle Alan Branch recovered the ball at the Panthers’ 25-yard line to snuff their last gasp at possibly pulling out a victory. Irvin’s first sack came on a third-and-10 play on the Panthers’ first possession in the second quarter and resulted in a 13-yard loss. Irvin came from the left end spot and was going to his right, but looped around to drop the 245-pound Newton as he moved to the his right.
“Bruce’s addition is extremely obvious, what a factor he is already,” coach Pete Carroll said today in his weekly day-after Q&A session with the media. “He’s so fast that you get him started up field and the tackle sets, and working with the three-technique (tackle) in there, it’s just a really good aspect of what he brings.
“He can get all the way to the other side of the line of scrimmage and still be a factor.”
The flip side to Irvin – or other side of the D-line in the nickel, if you will – is Chris Clemons’ continuing assault on quarterbacks. He split a sack with rookie middle linebacker Bobby Wagner on Sunday and now has 5.5, which ties him for sixth in the league.
That gives the Seahawks’ duo 10 between them, and no other end combination in the league has more. That’s why Carroll went after Irvin in the first round.
Has the rookie progressed faster than even Carroll anticipated?
“He’s exactly where we thought he would be,” Carroll joked.
But he then added, “It wasn’t a major projection for us. We saw what we needed to see. He had plenty of rushes on the outside to show exactly what we were looking for.”
It’s just that everyone else is finally starting to see that, too.
STATS ’N STUFF
Despite rushing for 85 yards against the Panthers, Marshawn Lynch slipped to No. 2 in the league in rushing with 508 – 43 behind the Chiefs’ Jamaal Charles. Lynch leads the NFC in total yards (567), which ranks third in the league behind Charles (669) and the Ravens’ Ray Rice (609).
Leon Washington is second in the league in kickoff return average (34.3), while Jon Ryan is fourth in the league in net punting average (43.1) and eighth in average (48.9).
Linebacker K.J. Wright continues to lead the team in tackles (34), while Heath Farwell continues to lead in special teams tackles (five).
STAT DU JOUR
In terms of average points allowed, the Seahawks are tied with the Texans for second in the league (14.0) behind the 49ers (13.6) – and the Texans play tonight against the Jets. But in terms of average points allowed by the defense, it’s the Seahawks who are No. 1 in the league. Here’s a look at the leaders:
Team (games) Def. points allowed Avg.
Seahawks (five) 54 10.8.
49ers (five) 61 12.2
Texans (four) 49 12.3
Bears (five) 64 12.8
Guard John Moffitt (knee) and defensive end Jay Howard (foot) missed Sunday’s game, and defensive tackle Clinton McDonald (groin) was injured in the game. But Carroll had no updates on their status today.
The players will have their off day on Tuesday, while the coaches compile the game plan for Sunday’s matchup against the Patriots at CenturyLink Field. The players will return on Wednesday to begin preparing for their only home game in a five-game stretch where they’ve already played at St. Louis and Carolina and will play at San Francisco and Detroit.
Wide receiver Golden Tate, who has three of the team’s five touchdown receptions, will sign autographs from 6-7 p.m. on Tuesday at the CenturyLink Field Pro Shop.
YOU DON’T SAY
“Bruce Irvin’s on pace for a 14.5-sack season. His speed is impossible to handle for almost any tackles in the NFL. What a smart pick – assuming Irvin can stay on the field.” – SI.com’s Peter King in ranking the Seahawks at No. 15 in the “Fine Fifteen” section of his Monday Morning Quarterback