And that’s why they selected
After not registering a tackle, let alone a sack, in the Seahawks’ first three preseason games, the rush-end from West Virginia went off in Thursday night’s 21-3 victory over the Oakland Raiders that slapped an exclamation point on an unbeaten preseason.
And Irvin was the bold-faced period that underlined the point of exclamation.
In addition to collecting one sack and sharing another, Irvin also forced a fumble on a punt return in the first quarter that was recovered by rookie middle linebacker Bobby Wager to get the rout rolling.
“I just thank the football Gods for seeing that I’ve been busting my tail in practice every day,” Irvin said after the game in the Seahawks’ locker room at CenturyLink Field. “Those Gods are always watching. They watch you, and they watch when you take a play off.
“I think it starts in practice. I had a real good practice Tuesday. I had like four or five sacks in practice. So I feel as if you get a sack in practice it will carry over to the game. And it did.”
Irvin has been a blur of a rusher since first stepping upon the practice field for the rookie minicamp in May. But it didn’t carry over to the game until the preseason finale. He still needs to develop some countermoves to go with all that speed and relentlessness, but that will come.
“I’m comfortable now,” he said. “Those first couple games, I didn’t know what to expect. Those were my first NFL games. It was different. But I settled in the past two weeks and just kept busting my butt and it paid off for me.”
Just as the Seahawks’ belief in Irvin’s ample, but raw, talents on draft day are paying off.
With that said, here’s a look at three other things that worked against the Raiders and three things that need work as the Seahawks prepare for Sunday’s regular-season opener against the Cardinals in Arizona:
After sitting out the game against the Chiefs in Kansas City to rest a sore elbow, and then having coach Pete Carroll name Wilson the starter two days later, Flynn fashioned a 125.0 passer rating against the Raiders by completing 11 of 13 passes for 102 yards and a touchdown.
“I thought that Matt Flynn did a nice job,” Carroll said. “He managed the team really well. It was great to get him back in there.”
Johnson responded with three tackles, including one where he teamed with end
Three. The defense. Again. They held the Raiders to 101 yards and five first downs, and Oakland didn’t score until the final 15 seconds of the game.
The defense limited the four preseason opponents to 44 points, fewest in the league. And in the 10-point victory over the Titans, the 20-point win over the Broncos, the 30-point win over the Chiefs and 18-point win over the Raiders, the defense allowed an average of 248 yards, which ranked third in the league.
What needs work
One. Production from the wide receivers. The coaches were mixing and matching wide-outs in the preseason to try and find the right combination of hands. They also played without slot receiver
But the other three wide-outs who remain on the 53-man roster –
This situation should improve – and needs to improve – once they get the right hands in their proper places.
But the preferred regular-season scenario is for Turbin to spell Lynch.
Three. Irvin’s angle of pursuit. Picking a nit, but …
He could have had a couple more big plays, but just missed getting the ball carrier with lunges while in hot pursuit. Calculating where the runner is heading and how best to head him off is one of those decisions that needs to be made instinctively, and instantly. Stop and think, and he’s gone. Irvin wasn’t guilty of that in being a quarter-of-a-step late while chasing players who are faster than him. It’s the angle that matters, and the NFL game moves faster – even in the preseason – than anything Irvin saw at West Virginia.
Like the big plays he did deliver against the Raiders, those he almost got also will come with time.