The injury to Cliff Avril means that Seattle will be relying more upon Frank Clark.
From the look of things on Sunday in Los Angeles, that’s a very good thing given how well Clark played at defensive end, not only forcing a fumble on his fourth-quarter sack, but in setting the edge at the line of scrimmage. His ability to fight off blocks, continuing to run parallel to the line of scrimmage forcing the back further toward the sideline was a key part of Seattle’s success in slowing Todd Gurley.
“Shoot, Frankie played great football,” coach Pete Carroll said. “He really played well. He was tearing it up with the running game. Really defended the perimeter running game and chased the ball down well.”
Clark is in his third season with the Seahawks. He had 10 sacks last season in 2016 and was considered a candidate to have a breakout season in 2017, but entering Sunday’s game he had 1.5 sacks.
That total now stands at 2.5 after a fourth-quarter pass rush in which he used a two-hand swat to separate from Rams left tackle Andrew Whitworth, who was pretty much unbeatable the first month of the season. Clark ran around the Rams’ left tackle and clobbered Rams quarterback Jared Goff from behind to force a fumble that was scooped up by Sheldon Richardson. The fact that Whitworth allowed only one quarterback pressure through the first four games made it even more impressive.
“He is doing really well,” Carroll said of Clark. “We are just kind of excited. We keep putting him out there and he does things that kind of blow you away and it is exciting to have him on the field.”
Avril is out after suffering a neck injury in Seattle’s Week 4 victory against the Colts. The injury involves his spinal cord, and he is continuing to undergo tests and there has been no timeline for his return.