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Tuesday in Hawkville: Bruce Irvin, Chris Clemons turning up the heat

Posted Oct 8, 2013

Chris Clemons and Bruce Irvin were on the field together Sunday for the first time this season, and each produced a sack as Seahawks showed flashes of the pass rush everyone has been waiting to see.

A recap of the activities at Virginia Mason Athletic Center for Oct. 8, when the players had their “off” day and the coaches were preparing the game plan for Sunday’s matchup against the Tennessee Titans at CenturyLink Field:

WORD OF THE DAY: RUSH

YOU DON'T SAY

“Andrew Luck's career-long 73-yard connection with T.Y. Hilton was the longest touchdown pass Seattle allowed since 2007 (Week 16), when Baltimore's Troy Smith hit Derrick Mason for a 79-yard score.”

ESPN.com in slotting the Seahawks at No. 5 in their weekly Power Rankings

As in pass rush. As in look at the Seahawks’ pass-rush now that Bruce Irvin and Chris Clemons are part of it.

They combined for 19.5 of the Seahawks’ 36 sacks last season, when Clemons produced a career-high 11.5 and Irvin led all NFL rookies with eight. But neither was available when this season started, because Clemons was completing his rehab after having knee surgery in January and Irvin was serving a four-game suspension.

Both were back for Sunday’s game against the Colts, and each was up to his old tricks.

Clemons, in his first start after playing in the rotation the previous two games, had a fumble-forcing sack on Andrew Luck in the third quarter to setup a field goal. Irvin, making his debut after rejoining the team on Monday, had a sack in the second quarter that helped force the Colts to settle for a field goal.

The fumble Clemons forced with his second sack in as many weeks was recovered by Cliff Avril, who was signed in free agency to improve the pass rush but also got a late start to his first season with the Seahawks because of a hamstring injury. He collected his first sack in the home opener against the defending NFC Champion San Francisco 49ers and added another in the Week 4 overtime win against the Texans in Houston.

Just as we saw more of Clemons last week, expect to see more of Irvin in this week’s game against the Titans at CenturyLink Field – as the Leo end, as the second end on the nickel line and at strong-side linebacker.

“Bruce did well. He was active. He was physical. He took advantage of the opportunities he had, with a good rush and a couple of good coverage opportunities. He tackled well. Shoot, he looked like he hadn’t missed a step,” coach Pete Carroll said on Monday.

“It’s exciting that he’s back and ready to go. He’ll get into the flow of things. He’ll play a good deal in this game this week.”

PRACTICE-SQUAD SHUFFLE: WIDE RECEIVER ADDED

Rookie wide receiver Josh Lenz has been added to the practice squad. The 6-foot, 194-pound Lenz had been with the Chicago Bears in training camp after being signed as a free agent out of Iowa State, but he was released on the roster cut to 53 players.

To clear a spot on the eight-man unit for Lenz, rookie offensive lineman Jared Smith was placed on practice squad/injured reserve after injuring a leg in practice last week.

STATS ’N STUFF: MARSHAWN LYNCH RANKS THIRD AMONG NFL RUSHERS

STAT DU JOUR: PILING ON THE POINTS

No need for the Titans to hear a Nashville version of Carroll’s “It’s not how you start, it’s how you finish” mantra. The Seahawks’ opponent this week has scored 51 points in the fourth quarter, which ties for the fifth-highest total in any quarter and ties for second-most in the fourth quarter this season. Here’s a look at the top-scoring quarters: :

Team, Quarter  Points
Broncos, Second 69
Broncos, Third 69
Lions, Second 64
Broncos, Fourth 61
Colts, Second 54
Titans, Fourth 51
Bears, Fourth 51

As we told you Monday, Marshawn Lynch has moved into third among the rushing leaders in the NFL after his first 100-yard effort of the season against the Colts on Sunday. He’s also 10th in total yards with 506 – 105 receiving in addition to his 410 rushing yards.

Steven Hauschka is tied for third in scoring among kickers with 49 points and tied for fourth with 21 touchbacks on his kickoffs.

Golden Tate leads the NFC and is fifth in the league with a 12.4-yard average returning punts. Richard Sherman, Kam Chancellor and Earl Thomas each have two interceptions and are tied for fifth in the league.

As a team, the Seahawks are third in the league in turnover differential at plus-7 and their 15 takeaways are tied for the league lead with the Kansas City Chiefs. The Seahawks’ defense ranks No. 6 in average yards (303.6) and average points (16.2) allowed; No.3 in passing yards allowed (194.6); and No. 19 in rushing yards allowed (109.0). On offense, they rank No. 2 in rushing offense (159.0); No. 12 in average yards (366.4); and No. 25 in average passing yards (207.4). 

UP NEXT: “COMPETITION WEDNESDAY”

The players return from their “off” day on Tuesday to begin practicing on Wednesday for Sunday’s game against the Titans – the Seahawks’ only home game in the month of October.

This game also completes a four-week stretch against the teams from the AFC South before the Seahawks play back-to-back road games against the NFC West rival Cardinals and Rams – each on national TV.

Game Rewind: Seattle Seahawks