SEATTLE Want--need, crave--any positive from the Seahawks loss so you can begin your work week?
It’s Dwight Freeney.
He is spinning and speeding off the right edge like he’s 21.
He’s 37. But you wouldn’t know it by the first two games he’s played for the Seahawks since they signed him, he admits, “off the couch.” That’s where he was for the first seven weeks of this NFL season.
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The three-time All-Pro, seven-time Pro Bowl selection and likely future Hall-of-Fame defensive end sacked Washington’s Kirk Cousins twice on Sunday in Seattle’s galling, 17-14 home loss. He has three sacks in two games for the Seahawks. That’s as many as he had in 15 games last season for the Falcons.
"With sacks, they come in bunches," Freeney said. "That is just how the game is."
He would know, as well as any pass rusher of his time. Freeney has 125 sacks in his 16-year career for Indianapolis, San Diego, Arizona and Seattle. That’s second to Julius Peppers’ 151 among active players.
Freeney is 17th in sacks in league history. He’s 1½ behind Derrick Thomas for 16th. He’s 7½ sacks behind Lawrence Taylor and Leslie O’Neal for 13th.
Sunday’s was his first multiple-sack game since December of 2015 when he sacked Green Bay’s Aaron Rodgers three times while playing for Arizona.
He played 25 of the defense’s 63 snaps, 40 percent on Sunday. The previous week he was in for 18 plays in his debut against Houston.
Using his signature spin move on a Washington line that was missing three starters to injuries, Freeney got his first sack Sunday late in the first half. He dropped Cousins for a 12-yard loss to ruin a drive.
The second one came when he slammed into Cousins’ chest near the Washington goal line with 10:22 remaining and Seattle trailing 10-8. The play was initially was ruled a fumble by Cousins recovered by the Seahawks’ Branden Jackson in the end zone for a Seattle touchdown. A replay review reversed that call to a sack and no fumble because Cousins’ knee hit the turf before Freeney ripped the ball free from the quarterback’s arm.
"They’ve done a great job around here trying to find moments for me and times to put me in the game, so hats off to management and the coaches,” Freeney said. “All the veterans here have embraced me and caught me up to speed on all the plays. It’s really a team effort, obviously, since I wasn’t playing for the first five or six weeks and then just jumping off the couch and coming out here.
“Obviously, my role here is just to lead however I can and help out however I can and make some plays on the field."
Even other All-Pros are learning after just two weeks with Freeney.
"He’s a great, great football player,” said middle linebacker Bobby Wagner, who is 10 years younger. “You learn so much from him: his leadership, the way he takes care of himself day-to-day the way he handles his business, and the way he performs out there on the field.
“He’s a really smart player. There’s a reason why he has been doing it for so long. He’s great, and I feel like all of the young guys, including myself, are learning from him.”