NASHVILLE—In the official stats, Julian Love was credited with a pass defense for the big first-quarter hit he put on Titans receiver Chris Moore in the first quarter.
But following a whirlwind week that culminated with Love's wife, Julia, giving birth to their son, Noah, on Friday afternoon, that play could perhaps also be called an example of Love showing off his newly acquired dad strength just two days after becoming a father.
Two plays later, Love made a tackle on a third-down completion short of the sticks, leading to Titans punt. For the game, Love had three tackles and a pass defensed in a 20-17 win over Tennessee, a relatively quiet game after he had four takeaways in the previous two games, including two interceptions on Monday night to earn NFC Defensive Player of the Week honors, but given all he has been through in the past few days, it was an awfully impressive outing.
Love didn't practice at all during the week, spending that time with Julia as she went through 20 hours of labor, and because their son, Noah, didn't arrive until Friday, afternoon, Love didn't leave with the team that day, instead flying to Nashville on Saturday, arriving in the evening.
"This was as challenging for Julian as could have been and took him days and days to get through the process," Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said. "I know he wasn't well rested, but he got through it anyway and did a great job. There was not a guy in our locker room that would worry about him one bit, that he wouldn't be able to pull it off. He did a fantastic job."
As Love described it to reporters outside the celebratory locker room after the game, "Man, it's been a lot, it's been a long week for sure. My wife, she did such a great job. Thankfully everybody helped me out, got me out here, and we got a win."
Love estimated he slept "about three hours" on Thursday and Friday night at the hospital, then got a better night sleep Saturday before the game. But of course, he knows he wasn't the one enduring the most challenging part of the week.
"My wife is a trooper, she toughed it out, 20 hours of labor," he said.
Love credited the team for being accommodating during his absence, keeping him in the loop with notes and film study, but he also acknowledged that, had the baby come much later than he did, he would not have played in the game, something Carroll said Friday he would support if it came down to that.
"I would have stayed home," Love said. "I pride myself in being a great teammate to these guys in here, do whatever I can to help people succeed, but my greatest team I've ever had is her, so I definitely would have missed it."
Fortunately for the Seahawks, it didn't come to that, and Love was there to flash his newfound dad strength and help the Seahawks earn another victory.
Check out some of the best action shots from Week 16 at the Tennessee Titans at Nissan Stadium on December 24, 2023. Game action photos are presented by Washington's Lottery.