DE Cliff Avril after 1 1/2 sacks help Seahawks win NFC West
Dantia Avril might be the only one who knows how grump her husband has been the past few weeks.
Seahawks defensive end Cliff Avril is paid to sack the quarterback. And it has been a while since he had gotten his hands on an opposing signal caller and brought him down.
“You go a few weeks without getting them, it can get frustrating,” Avril said. “You have to keep chopping away.”
The defense had registered just one sack in its past three games.
Rookie Jared Goff could not have entered the picture at a better time as the Seahawks hosted NFC West rival Los Angeles for a Thursday Night Football showdown at CenturyLink Field.
Seattle sacked Goff four times in the Seahawks’ 24-3 victory.
And the damage was done by the defensive line. Avril had 1 1/2 sacks to push his season total to 11½, a new career best.
Frank Clark also had 1 1/2 sacks. And Cassius Marsh also had one sack.
“We definitely got better results,” Marsh said. “The last couple weeks, it’s been tough with a lot of chips (in blocking), a lot of max protection and stuff. Tonight, we had some more opportunities, and we took advantage of those opportunities to rush the passer. Obviously we were able to get home.”
The pressure started early and often as Clark brought down Goff for a 9-yard loss on third down of the Rams’ opening series.
Midway through the second quarter, Avril and Clark combined to sack the rookie out of California for another 9-yard loss to end a Los Angeles drive.
“No quarterback likes to get hit, so putting pressure on him, making him move his feet a little bit in the pocket, that is always going to worry him,” Avril said. “Once you get to him, rattle him, hit him … they start to worry about you.”
On the Rams’ opening series of the second half, Avril got around the edge against right tackle Rob Havenstein for a solo sack and forced fumble to set a new best single-season mark. He had 11 sacks with Detroit in 2011.
“It had been three weeks, man,” said Avril, who shot a look of relief. “I am glad to get back on there. We have two more games. I want to finish strong, and hopefully getting a few more.”
The last time Seattle got four or more sacks in a game was Nov. 7 against Buffalo. The defense sacked Tyrod Taylor five times in a 31-25 victory.
WILD FOURTH QUARTER
Michael Bennett easily pushed aside blocker Lance Kendricks, only to run squarely into the shoulder of Rams running back Todd Gurley. Bennett left the game early in the fourth quarter, woozy, and was taken to the locker room for concussion evaluation.
Later in the locker room, Bennett indicated he was feeling fine.
The same cannot be said for punter Jon Ryan, who pulled off a fake punt perfectly to gain 26 yards on a run.
But on the play, Ryan lost his grip on the football. And as he regained control of it going to the turf, he was hit hard in the head by Troy Hill.
“It did look a little Charlie Brown-ish,” Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman said. “He just kind of panicked … as he tried to switch the ball in his hands. Hopefully he is OK.”
Coach Pete Carroll said Ryan was loopy afterward, and was taken to a local hospital for evaluation for a head injury.
Also, Garry Gilliam – who had been inactive the past three games - came on for Bradley Sowell at right tackle late in the third quarter on the series Seattle scored a touchdown on Russell Wilson’s 56-yard strike to Tyler Lockett. Carroll confirmed the move was not injury-related.
Seattle only had two active tailbacks in starter Thomas Rawls and backup Alex Collins. That is because rookie C.J. Prosise (shoulder) missed his fourth consecutive game, and newcomer Kelvin Taylor was also inactive. … Also on the Seahawks’ inactive list were safety Tyvis Powell, defensive tackle John Jenkins, defensive end Damontre Moore and linebackers Brock Coyle and Ronald Powell. … For the second time in three seasons, safety Kam Chancellor was named the Steve Largent Award winner for the Seahawks player who best exemplifies spirit, dedication and integrity. He also received the honor in 2014, joining five-time award winner Mack Strong (2001-02, 2004-06) as the only player to receive the award multiple times. … Sid Otton, who retired this season from Tumwater High School as the all-time winningest coach (394 wins, six state titles), was named the Seahawks’ high school coach of the year. As part of the honor, Otton received a $2,000 cash grant. University of Washington football coach Chris Petersen raised the “12th Man” flag before the game. He wore a lime-green No. 12 jersey. … Former Alaska governor and 2008 Republican Vice-Presidential nominee Sarah Palin and her husband, Todd, were in attendance Thursday.