Michael Bennett didn’t mince words.
Michael Bennett doesn’t mince anything.
The Seahawks’ Pro Bowl defensive end had five hits on Atlanta’s league-leading quarterback, Matt Ryan, in the first 2½ quarters on Sunday. Then the Falcons hit him back — in his knee.
He left the game and did not return after Falcons tackle Jake Matthews cut blocked him in the right knee. The injury happened on Ryan’s 10-yard touchdown throw to Mohamed Sanu that tied the game at 17-all in the third quarter — and before Seattle rallied back to win 26-24 inside frenzied CenturyLink Field.
“A (expletive) play,” Bennett called it afterward — multiple times.
Bennett and Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said the team’s medical staff does not consider the injury major.
Fellow defensive end Frank Clark, inactive for the game because of a strained hamstring, came on the field in street clothes to help Bennett walk off.
“I should be able to play next week,” Bennett said of Seattle’s NFC West game at Arizona (2-3).
A cut block, which involves an offensive lineman firing off the snap directly into a defender’s legs, is not illegal along the line of scrimmage. But to Bennett and other NFL defensive linemen a blocker thrusting his shoulder pads and helmet into the knees violates a code of honor in the trenches, not to mention risks career-threatening injury.
In Seattle’s previous game, an Oct. 2 win at the New York Jets, Bennett was the target of a head butt by offensive lineman Brian Winters following a play. This time, Matthews went for Bennett’s knees.
Bennett is no angel on the field. He’s one of the league’s loudest talkers between plays, and opponents don’t exactly love the hip thrusts he does with great gusto following sacks. Atlanta didn’t love Bennett hitting Ryan so many times or the Seahawks hitting or sacking the Falcons’ quarterback on 11 of his first 17 drop backs or sacking him four times, either. Ryan had been sacked just 11 times on 179 drop backs coming into Sunday’s game.
“He just dove at my knee,” Bennett said of Matthews, who went to Texas A&M five years after Bennett played collectively for the Aggies. “This is the second week someone tried to take me out, man.
“To me, I think it’s a scary, (expletive) move, really, obviously. I think if you dive at somebody’s legs you are a little (soft). That’s all I know. If you are big in the NFL why don’t you just line up and play? Why do you got to cut somebody?
“Why cut somebody when you cut just line up and win? I don’t know. I don’t come off the ball jumping at offensive linemen’s legs. So I don’t know.
“That doesn’t happen pretty much anymore.”
WAGNER BLITZES ON
The Seahawks continue to blitz middle linebacker Bobby Wagner more this season — on running and passing downs.
Wagner had a game-high 14 tackles Sunday with two hits on Ryan and one tackle behind the line of scrimmage.
“This is a big win, bro,” Wagner said.
Seattle conquered the 4-1 Falcons and held the NFL’s highest-scoring offense 13 points below its season average entering Sunday.
“We’ve grown with him,” Carroll said. “He’s a terrific blitzer right now.”
COLLINS’ FIRST TD
Thanks to Russell Wilson and his Seahawks teammates ensuring they retrieved it, Alex Collins already had his prized ball tucked away in his locker for safe keeping.
Hours after rushing for his first career touchdown in the NFL, the rookie running back smiled recounting his 2-yard tumble into the end zone. It gave Seattle a 14-3 lead in the second quarter.
The fifth-round draft choice from Arkansas got the chance while lead back Christine Michael was on the sidelines with doctors briefly examining his neck and shoulder area. Michael was playing with Thomas Rawls out into next month with a cracked fibula.
“It’s just me doing my part,” Collins said. “I just want to thank the coaches and everybody for trusting me in there to be able to ever get the touchdown.”
Collins had two pivotal plays: the touchdown carry, and a crucial third-down conversion in the fourth. He caught a shovel pass from Russell Wilson with 3:40 remaining, and scampered for a 9-yard gain.
“The whole defense was in that mode of trying to stop us on third down,” Collins said. “Everybody went straight for Russ, and I just kind of turned around and was left by myself, and he was able to dump the ball off to me.”
Collins’ catch set up Steven Hauschka’s game-winning field goal four plays later.
“Great play by Alex,” Wilson said.
“He was supposed to be kind of pass blocking and then late in release (on a pass route_ potentially, depending on what the look was. He did a good job, made a good decision…that’s what you love about him.”
Kelcie McCray started at strong safety for the first time this season because Kam Chancellor was inactive. Chancellor got a “slight groin pull” during Thursday’s practice, coach Pete Carroll said.
“He should be good for next week” at Arizona, Carroll said. “He almost could go this week. We’ll keep our fingers crossed. He’ll have to show -- it will take him all the week, though, so we can rest it and make sure it’s not an issue.”
The Seahawks’ touchdown that closed Atlanta’s lead to 24-23 in the fourth quarter came at a price for Seattle. Christine Michael’s bull across the goal line ended with the running back falling into the back of tight end Luke Willson’s legs in the end zone.
Willson could barely put weight on his leg as trainers propped him under each arm pit to get him off the field to the training table behind the bench.
“I don’t know anything specific about it, but we’ll get all that checked out,” Carroll said. “He’s going to have to get all the MRIs and all that kind of stuff.”
The News Tribune’s Lauren Smith contributed to this report.