Heaps: 3 unsung heroes emerge on the Seahawks’ defense
The Seahawks’ defense through three games has been, to put it mildly, a bit uneven.
On the one hand, Seattle is second in the entire NFL in run defense, allowing just 66.7 yards per game on the ground. Despite that, the Seahawks rank dead last in the league with 497.3 total yards of offense allowed per game, a distinction that is completely owed to the 430.7 passing yards they’re allowing on average.
For the sake of comparison, no other team is allowing more than 350.3 passing yards per game, and the Atlanta Falcons are the only team besides Seattle averaging over 300 passing yards allowed.
So how are the Seahawks still undefeated? Russell Wilson and the offense gets most of the credit there, but there have been some unsung heroes making big plays on defense to preserve Seattle’s wins. Three jumped out in particular to 710 ESPN Seattle’s Jake Heaps in Sunday’s 38-31 victory over the Dallas Cowboys.
Let’s take a look at who the former Seahawks quarterback identified and what he had to say about each player.
DB Ugo Amadi
Amadi, a second-year fourth-round pick out of Oregon, finds himself in a key role following the season-ending injury to nickel cornerback/safety Marquise Blair. He’s an easy pick as one of Seattle’s standouts on defense against Dallas, making seven tackles, including six solo, and two passes defensed.
“Ugo Amadi stepped up and played big,” Heaps said. “He did a great job playing nickel (cornerback) and I also thought he did a great job in different spots playing safety when they brought Jamal Adams on pressure. Ugo Amadi had an outstanding day.”
DE L.J. Collier
Seattle’s 2019 first-round pick had a disappointing rookie season, but he’s shown early on this year why the Seahawks picked him ahead of several other defensive line options, both with defending the run and rushing the passer.
“Look at L.J. Collier. Talk about twitch, you talk about flash plays,” Heaps said. “L.J. Collier stood out a couple different times in the run game and in the pass game. I thought he had a pretty excellent day.”
DE Alton Robinson
The name of Robinson, a fifth-round pick year out of Syracuse, came up time and time again leading into and during training camp as a potential steal out of the draft. Curiously, he was a healthy scratch for the first two games of the Seahawks’ season. He turned heads when he got his opportunity Sunday, however, even registering his first career sack on a key play that directly preceded safety Ryan Neal’s interception that sealed Seattle’s win.
Robinson finished the day with three tackles (all solo), two tackles for loss and the sack.
“The player I thought should have been on the active roster and contributing from the very beginning was defensive end Alton Robinson. He made plays in this game that I saw him make in practice and in the couple of team scrimmages that they had, so it was kind of a head-scratcher to me why he was inactive the first two weeks,” Heaps said. “I think he’s made a role for himself and clearly has shown that he’s a guy who should be not part of the starting lineup but heavily in the rotation of that defensive line because this guy can make some plays.”
You can hear Heaps’ full comments in the Four-Down Territory segment of Monday’s Tom, Jake and Stacy at this link or in the player below.
710Sports.com’s Brandon Gustafson contributed to this report.