By Brady Henderson
It’s been so long since Bruce Irvin even came close to a sack that merely hitting 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick during the NFC title game was enough to give him delight.
Seahawks linebacker Bruce Irvin hasn’t recorded a sack since Week 8, a streak he can end in the Super Bowl against the Broncos and their pass-happy offense. (AP)
“I felt like I had a newborn child,” Irvin said Thursday when he joined “The Huddle” on 710 ESPN Seattle. “I was like, man, I forgot what this felt like.”
That will happen when a player drafted for his pass-rushing chops goes 10 games without bringing down a quarterback. Not since Week 8 has Irvin recorded a sack, a streak he can end in the Super Bowl.
The Broncos had the league’s best offense during the regular season – both in terms of points scored and yards gained – and most of the damage was done through the air. Denver averaged just over 42 pass attempts per game, the second-most in the league.
“The Broncos have got a great offense and they’re more of a passing team,” Irvin said, “so hopefully the way it’s looking I’m going to get a lot of chances to rush the passer.”
Irvin hasn’t had as many of late, playing mainly on early downs and then leaving the field when Seattle subs in its nickel defense. He was primarily a situational pass rusher a year ago when he led all rookies in sacks with eight after he was drafted 15th overall. But when the Seahawks added Cliff Avril and Michael Bennett in free agency, it left their defense with a glut of pass rushers and led to the decision to move Irvin to strong-side linebacker as a way to get as many of them on the field at once.
The four-game suspension he served at the beginning of the season – for a violation of the league’s performance-enhancing drug policy – didn’t make his position switch any easier. There was nothing easy about the path Irvin took the NFL, and his second season has been no different. That makes the opportunity ahead of him even more special.
“I never thought I’d be in a situation like this, especially coming from where I’ve come from. My biggest thing back then was just to get out of the situation I was in,” Irvin said, alluding to a past that includes jail time and a period in which he lived on the streets after flunking out of high school.
“But for me to tell you that I knew or dreamed of playing in the Super Bowl, I’d be lying to you. So I’m just going up here, just enjoying every moment of it because there’s a lot of people wanting to be in this situation who played numerous years and never got to experience a Super Bowl.”
Follow Brady Henderson on Twitter @BradyHenderson.