By Matt Pitman
Defensive end Chris Clemons knows that if the Seahawks are going to right the ship, they’ll do it on the backs of their defense.
“A lot of us were together last year,” Clemons said. “The offense is pretty new. We know we have to hold it down until they actually start gelling together.”
Chris Clemons brings down Cardinals quarterback Kevin Kolb for one of Seattle’s three sacks. (AP)
While the offense works out the remaining bugs and growing pains of a unit with so many new parts, the defense has to rely on its continuity from last season and its ability to generate a pass rush as its foundation for success.
Clemons led the effort up front in the Seahawks’ 13-10 win over Arizona as Seattle forced Kevin Kolb into his worst game as the Cardinals’ new starting quarterback. Kolb still managed 252 passing yards while completing 25 of his 39 pass attempts. But the Seahawks defense, using mostly steady pressure, held Kolb to a season-low one touchdown pass while forcing two interceptions and a fumble.
On a key third-quarter defensive series, Clemons and the Seahawks forced an Arizona three-and-out — right after the Seahawks scored on Tarvaris Jackson’s 11-yard touchdown run. Leading 13-10, Clemons said the goal was very simple: get the ball back to the offense.
“To go out and get a three-and-out right after the offense had scored was big,” he said. “They had the momentum … it was an opportunity for us to go out and allow the offense to continue moving the ball.”
It was Clemons who came up with the big play on the series. He flew around the left side and dropped Cardinals running back Alfonso Smith for a four-yard loss on third-and-1, forcing Arizona to punt.
Clemons said he wants Seattle’s defense to gain respect for its reputation as an opportunistic unit that makes plays on the football. He’s taken it upon himself to be a leader up front but knows words are hollow, while big plays speak loud and clear.
“Coach tells us each and every week that we have to have a leader, somebody that stands out. I go out there each and every week and try to lead by example,” Clemons said. “We don’t have to talk about anything. We know what we have to do and our job is to go out there and do it.”
Ask Kevin Kolb and the Cardinals. This week, the message was received loud and clear.