By Brady Henderson
It took Bruce Irvin four preseason games to even crack the stat sheet, let alone make an impact play.
When he finally did Thursday night, the rookie defensive end did it in a big way.
Irvin, playing into the fourth quarter, recorded one and a half sacks and made a big play on special teams in the Seahawks’ 21-3 preseason win over the Raiders.
Bruce Irvin (51) ended the preseason with a bang, collecting one and a half sacks and forcing a fumble. (AP)
It was the type of performance the Seahawks had in mind when they made Irvin the 15th overall pick. And it was just what he needed after a quiet preseason, even if it came in a meaningless game.
“It feels good to finally have a little success,” a smiling Irvin said afterward before putting his night in the proper perspective. “But it don’t count. The stat sheet starts over next week. That’s why I wasn’t really concerned when people was worried. It don’t count, so I’ve just got to keep working and get ready for the season next week.”
Irvin’s big night began on special teams when he forced a fumble while covering a punt in the first quarter. That gave the Seahawks good field position and led to their first score, a 25-yard Steven Hauschka field goal.
From there, Irvin wreaked havoc off the edge. Both of them, actually.
He beat backup right tackle Kevin Haslam on an inside move in the third quarter, combing with cornerback Byron Maxwell for his first career sack.
“It felt like I had a newborn baby, man, I swear,” he said. “It felt good.”
Irvin blew by Haslam again on that same drive but couldn’t bring down quarterback Terrelle Pryor. A few plays later, this time lining up on the left side, Irvin slipped through the guard and tackle and hit Prior as he was throwing, forcing an incompletion.
He added another sack in the fourth quarter, bringing down a rolling out Prior on Oakland’s 5.
“I just feel like I’m comfortable now. Those first couple of games, I didn’t know what to expect,” he said. “Those were my first NFL games – it was different. But I settled in the past two weeks and I just kept busting my butt and it paid off for me.”
Despite Irvin’s previous lack of production in the preseason, coach Pete Carroll had said he was among the most impressive defenders in practice.
“He practiced well this week,” Carroll said. “It seems like it kind of came together. He’s getting better and he has so much talent. If he factors somewhere down the road this season like that in games, it will be awesome.”