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Seahawks’ pass rush set up for its best game of the season

The Seahawks will pair Benson Mayowa with Carlos Dunlap for the first time Thursday night. (Getty)

When the Seahawks played the Arizona Cardinals less than four weeks ago, it was a low point for a pass rush that hasn’t had a lot of high points over the past two seasons.

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Arizona quarterback Kyler Murray attempted 48 passes in that game. The Seahawks didn’t sack him once. In fact, they didn’t even register a single QB hit. And considering the Cardinals won late in overtime, the presence of even a little bit of a pass rush could have made all the difference for Seattle.

The Seahawks get another shot at Murray and the Cards at 5:20 p.m. Thursday night on 710 ESPN Seattle, and one thing that has changed in the three games since is that Seattle is having much more success creating pressure on opposing passers. It had two sacks in a Week 8 win over San Francisco, broke out for a season-high seven the next week in a loss to Buffalo, and added three more last Sunday in a defeat against the Rams.

Despite the fact that the elusive Murray gave the Seahawks fits the first time around, 710 ESPN Seattle’s Jake Heaps expects Thursday to be very different.

“I think the defensive line is in for a big game. I think they’re in for their best game of the season,” he said during Thursday afternoon’s edition of Jake and Stacy. “I actually, genuinely believe they’re going to get a good amount of pressure tonight.”

The big reason is that coming into the game, the Seahawks are as healthy as they’ve been since acquiring two-time Pro Bowl defensive end Carlos Dunlap, who debuted against Buffalo. Benson Mayowa, who was Seattle’s top pass rusher earlier in the season, is set to return for a hamstring injury that has kept him out since the first meeting with Arizona, and with Dunlap in the lineup, he’ll be able to return more to a rotational role that he’s better suited for.

“A guy they haven’t had in a while and a guy they haven’t had the chance to pair with Carlos Dunlap is Benson Mayowa,” Heaps said. “Benson Mayowa has done an admirable job this season but was playing a role that was way outside of his norm and his comfort zone and his strength. You’re going to see Benson Mayowa cut his snaps percentage back dramatically and I think it’s going to lead to a fresher, healthier Benson Mayowa who’s going to be eager to get back out there and be able to rush the passer.

“I’m excited to see what it looks like now with Carlos Dunlap and Benson Mayowa. You’re going to add Poona Ford, who’s been disruptive, and Jarran Reed (at defensive tackle). I’m really hopeful for that combination to be effective vs. Kyler Murray tonight.”

You can hear the full conversation after 3 p.m. on the Jake and Stacy podcast page.

Follow Brent Stecker on Twitter.

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